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31-03-2017, 13:55
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A point I have often made on here in the past is that a key reason for the decline in pubgoing is changing attitudes to alcohol. Whereas once it was seen as normal for moderate drinking to be woven into the fabric of everyday life, we have become increasingly censorious about it, and it is now coming to be seen as something that has to be ringfenced from all responsible activity.
Many of the drinkers who used to be in pubs, and are no longer, especially at lunchtimes and early evenings, would be going on to do something else later. It was part of their routine. They weren’t kicking back once all cares could be set aside.
This change in attitudes is often reflected in remarks made by beer writers, and in comments left on blogs. For example, on one blog, someone recently wrote “I study part-time outside of work so most weekdays I have to delay my evening drink until concentration is no longer required” and was rather aggrieved when I suggested that such attitudes were contributing to the decline in pubs. I’m sure in the past many people have successfully studied at home with a glass at hand, but obviously this person doesn’t feel comfortable with it.
You frequently read people making comments such as:

“One pint at lunchtime and I’m good for nothing all afternoon”.
“I never drink at lunchtimes”.
“I really can’t concentrate if I’ve had a drink.”
“I never touch a drop if I’m driving.”“I never drink on a school night.”

Now, I would strongly defend everyone’s right to make their own decisions as to how to live their lives and not be browbeaten by others. Nobody should be urged to have a drink if they don’t feel happy about it. And I can’t claim personally to make a huge contribution to the success of pubs – for example, over the past seven days, I have drunk precisely seven pints in pubs.
But I can’t help finding it a touch ironic that the same people who are lamenting the decline of pubs are at the same time exhibiting the attitudes and lifestyle traits that have contributed to bringing it about.

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