Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pubs: evolution or 'revolution'?

Putting a spin on the definition of "dying".

"I evolve but I don't revolve", Alan Partridge once famously said. It's the approach chosen by the BBC's Mark Easton to explain the dying world of pubs. Though he's guilty of textbook newspeak and spin that took a leaf out of Alistair Campbell's book, his analysis and the following online comments are worth a read.

In short, Easton writes that it's not true 52 pubs are closing each week. What's happening, he says, is that many of them "are evolving"- sometimes into restaurant chains, sometimes into trendy winebar chains that sell lager, Guinness and Worthingtons and blast LadyGaGa and Robbie Williams out, sometimes into a boarded up shell.

Each to their own, and if some prefer the 'new wave', then so be it. But in most cases, let's not beat around the bush, Mr Easton - that is no longer a pub. Like the old corner shop that went and then re-opened as a Tesco Express. It didn't "evolve". It shut down and it changed completely.


asquith said...

The below confirms suspicions that I've long had.


Those who are tightening their belts will want a proper real ale & single malt experience every once in a while rather than going to a chain pub, necking lager in front of a plasma screen TV & generally doing nothing that can't be done at home for less.

The ingredient a pub has got to serve up is atmosphere, otherwise why indeed would we bother?

In all honesty, the pubs I've sen shut won't be mourned. My favourites, which I've chosen from the whole city because they are of high quality, are all doing well.

Anita said...

the question is: where do you live? Cos you'll find experiences vary considerably according to where you are- you're on it however when you mention "the ingredient a pub has got to serve up i(t)s atmosphere".

eric the fish said...

Yes, atmosphere (the video of which was filmed in Birkenhead, I think)is the key.
In this area, wine bars have undergone many different revisions as people get bored with the 'new' theme and pubco's go for the latest thing. They may be OK once in a while but they can never be a local. I have come to like the odd Wetherspoons but they can never be a 'local' as they are too impersonal despite best attempts to create difference.

Incidentally, am I right in thinking the Hagley Duck, former home of Frank Skinner and countless drink-it-dry attempts when I was a student, is no longer around?

ejh said...

Not unless it's closed since the end of June, according to Mr Creosote.