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British Pubs On Deathbed

on 26/11/10 at 3:44 pm

Booze News

The British pub, in some form or another has flourished, selling warm beer and lousy food, since a couple of thousand years BC.

Beer was regarded rightly as a food for the Gods and the working classes. In the Middle Ages, you could sell your own beer out the back door, if you had one, just as long as you displayed a pole with a broom on the end of it and allowed the local big-wigs to check its quality — by drinking it of course.

The pub grew into a bastion of solid, safe, supremely British ugliness, with ceilings stained yellow by tobacco smoke, lists of last year’s cricket fixtures pinned on the wall, a sullen landlord who would never dream of serving his beer in a glass without handles and a brisk barmaid who always called you “dear”. You would never ever dream of eating the food, of course. Well, maybe a bag of potato chips, or a pickled egg, but certainly not the lasagne that always lingered too long at the bar.

But now the British Pub does looks like it’s on its last legs. Forty two pubs a week are closing, and while higher taxes and higher costs have taken their toll, the real damage has been done by the changing view of what a pub should be.

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