You can go anywhere in the U.K and its more than likely that your never to far away from a pub, there might not be a shop, a hospital, a school, or a post office, but all probability suggests that if you look hard enough, you’ll find a pub, and unless your wandering through the British country side, miles away from any signs of civilization, bar a rusty tractor in a decrepit barn, the likely hood is you wont have to look that far at all.
With approximately 60,000 estimated pubs in the U.K, with some dating back to the eleventh century it is undeniable that the Pub plays a major role in British culture. Recent news articles have suggested that the number of pub closures has been increasing rapidly with the majority of the blame being aimed towards super markets for selling low priced alcohol as well as tax, and brewery rates, making it increasingly difficult to turn a profit from a pint.
However despite industry economics there is still a strong love between Brits and their locals. Although the reason for this cannot be defined by one universal insight into British culture, we can hazard a guess with a few ideas as to why the British love their pubs.
Maybe it’s the Idea of escaping the daily grind, escaping the job, escaping the family, escaping life and all the things we don’t like about it. Going to a place where they only things that really matter are half decent convocation and the quality of beer. The idea of putting the days work to rest and heading down the local is one that comes increasingly appealing to a lot of us as the clocks hand drags past 4.
It could be the warming familiarities of going somewhere you know, or the excitement of going somewhere you don’t. Maybe its some thing that unifies us bringing not only friends and family together, but young and old, richer and poorer, the ability to bridge these gaps, generation, social, or economic standing is something that all truly great pubs seem to have in common. This may not necessarily be down to the pubs themselves, as much as it might be down to the people drinking in them, as like many great places they are often defined by the people you find there.
If you believe what the tabloids tell you, that pubs are in rapid decline with more and more closing day by day, then it will be a tragic lose for Britain, when the last of the locals boards its windows and bolts its door, as all of this will be lost, relegated to the past tense by a change in tides.
Next time you’re pushing your trolley down the isle of Tesco’s alcohol section, when you find yourself reaching for that bottle of wine to drink with dinner, think of the local. Maybe you’ll find yourself wandering down to the pub after you’ve eaten to see a friend, introducing yourself to a stranger, or talking to the neighbour that you never new you had. Then maybe, just maybe, one more pub will be a little further away from bolting its door.