Who do we blame for pubs closing?

Granddad had a good old rant about the government targetting smoking (they obviously haven’t read [tag]The Tipping Point[/tag]). I’m agreed with him on most of his argument but I question this one:

First they introduced the ban on [tag]smoking[/tag] in public places. Pubs are now closing at the rate of one a day. The government won’t admit this – they put it down to other factors, but the publicans say that it is a major factor.

Afaik we don’t have real data for this, so why do people always assume that the [tag]smoking ban[/tag] is the reason for pubs closing? Sure the publicans claim it’s the case, but I think they’re lying or wrong.

[tag]Drink prices[/tag] in [tag]Irish[/tag] [tag]pubs[/tag] have skyrocketed recently, well more than inflation. We are changing our lifestyle and going to a friends house is much more common now than in previous years. I can get 2 bottles of wine or a box of 20 Rolling Rock for about 20 euros, how’s that compare to going to the pub?

I believe that pub prices together with a massive clampdown on drink driving in the last 5 years (which is particularly noticeable in rural areas), is a far bigger contributory factor to the closure of rural pubs than the smoking ban is.

2 Responses

  1. Grandad
    Grandad at |

    I can’t remember the precise source, but they ascribed the drop in trade to the clampdown on drink-driving and the smoking ban. I wouldn’t say the price of drink is so much a factor, as it has never put people off before. And that is coming from someone who used to pay under 2 shillings a pint!!! [around 12 cents?]

  2. bnitz
    bnitz at |

    Here’s my take: The price of the land beneath the pub and the building itself has far outstripped the profitability of the pub itself. During the early part of this century I’d venture to guess that the average Irish pub made more in “capital appreciation” than it did in sales.

    The smoking ban, clampdown on drink-driving, the ubiquity of cable T.V. and even the crackdown on underage children after hours (which is actually a problem for jet-lagged tourists in villages where the pub is also the only restaurant.) Pubs are shifting from centers of public entertainment + alcohol consumption to pure centers of alcohol consumption where they have to compete with home. Unfortunately, Ireland is following the U.S. model for traffic, urban sprawl and pub life. I think pubs can survive if they moved towards the Spanish “tapas” model. Children are usually welcome so it becomes a family meeting place, food is as important and available as drink. Ireland also needs to do something to prevent high-rent and land sales pressure from squeezing pubs, shops, petrol stations… out of businesses.

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