View Full Version : Student Brewer - It's not a good time for pubs then?

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13-03-2011, 17:12
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After my last blog (http://studentbrewer.blogspot.com/2011/03/golden-age-for-pubs.html) a couple of people suggested their experience of pubs in today's climate isn't quite the nirvana I was suggesting. Whilst I appreciate it's hard to see the positives when several of the pubs in your local area have got boarded up, I still believe there's never been a better time to be a pub-goer. When you hear the news of a new pub company has opened 5 sites in the last year (http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=13&storycode=69163) and is looking forward to the future, I can't help thinking that today's licensee has got to work harder than ever, but more and more are.

Mudge has got a poll going on his blog at the moment, asking which year you'd enjoy drinking in the most. I'm certainly in the now crowd, apart from the fact I wasn't alive in 81 and my fake ID didn't work when I was 5, or indeed 15.

But there is something that worries me. I've mentioned before that if every licensee stuck a couple of casks on, that then didn't sell, you'd end up with a situation where cask beer is available everywhere, but quality hugely hit-and-miss. This would undoubtedly turn off the casual cask drinker back onto keg. If your going to spend £3 a pint, you want to know your going to get for your money, quality wise.

The thing that worries me now is a blueprint for currently successful pubs being taken up by the majority. The blueprint I mean is:

Minimalistic bar design. Exposed brick, scrubbed wood tables, floor that has had the carpet ripped up and then swept. Limited, uncomfortable seating. Punk IPA on keg. Jaipur on cask. Dark Star on cask. A London 'micro-brew' on keg. An American hop-bomb on keg. Beer served in dimpled jugs. Beer at £4 a pint. Shiny metal pipes around the place.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_cMiESr4BgjQ/TPaCi2J3kSI/AAAAAAAAAY0/G14pSz00PM4/s200/euston+tap+bar+euston+london.jpgThere's more to a good pub than just lots of beer
The thing that started me thinking about this was a recent trip to that there London. The Euston Tap especially - for the first time in a 'bar' I felt I was in a supermarket pub. Tiny space, join the queue, pay for your product and move away to make space. No banter. No chit-chat with the tired and fed-up looking staff. And a beer list that heavily featured Brewdog.

Whilst this may suit some - and all power to the guys running it - I think I'm developing my simple idea of what makes a good pub. It's so simple, yet seemingly hard to find:

Can you walk in, by yourself, and be made to feel comfortable, whether being left alone with a paper or perched up at the bar for a chat?

At one end of the scale pubs are still closing in large numbers. At the other end we have a selection of 'craft' pubs that almost verge on being cold, in that 'too cool for school' sense. And in the middle a broad spectrum of pubs, bars and clubs. As long as wherever that pub fits in, it remembers the basics, it should do well.

Value for money

(not in any order I hasten to add)


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