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There’s an interesting article here from Jason Smith about the decline and fall of the British pub. I’m not sure I agree with everything he says – surely he exaggerates the social stratification in 1950s pubs – but broadly speaking he is right in saying that pubs have lost their social purpose. He concludes:
At the moment, pubs are over-regulated, unprofitable, sterile and – apart from selling drink – lack a function. In the light of these many problems, the only thing that is shocking about pub closures to date is that there have been so few.
I have commented before on how many pubs seem to be running on empty and are only still in existence because they have been in the past – if they didn’t exist, nobody would consider opening a pub or bar where they stand.