Who Says all English Pubs are Closing?

Last night we went over to the new house to take some stuff over and check on the decorating. We had a short walk to admire the views just before sunset. This isn’t a great photo because my iPhone camera wasn’t handling the evening light very well, but this is the lane that runs past our house, and down below you can see the village nestling in the valley.

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Afterwards, we went for dinner in a pub the previous owners had recommended. It’s about 10 minutes from the house, down deserted country lanes, in a little village called Elslack and it turns out that it’s quite well-regarded.

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As for this myth that pubs can’t survive in Britain now, it was absolutely heaving on a freezing cold Tuesday night. Having been here almost a year now, I’ve decided that what’s happening in England is survival of the fittest when it comes to pubs. It’s not that no one wants to go to the pub, it’s just that going to the pub isn’t a given anymore. The pub has to give you a reason to go, whereas in the past, anyone could open a pub and expect a decent level of custom. In Knaresborough where we used to live, there was one pub that frequently shut down in the middle of the evening because it was so dead. They had stale-looking flowered carpets, outdated furnishings, an average beer selection, and food that literally came out of the microwave (you could hear it pinging from the bar area!) Just down the road was another pub which served a wide selection of local ales, offered a lovely menu and had an attractive decor. It was full every night.

So if you’re planning on coming home and worrying that pubs won’t be around by the time you get back, fear not. There’ll still be pubs – just not rubbish ones.

Here’s a shot of the inside of the pub from our table – the stonework surrounds a roaring open fire

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And here’s me testing the fish and chips – just to make sure they were up to standard, you understand.

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4 thoughts on “Who Says all English Pubs are Closing?

  1. You know, Louise, that was my experience, too! In my family’s neck of the woods in the Peak District of Derbyshire, a lot of pubs have gone under (such as the Jovial Dutchman in Crich–sob– where for the past 200 years my family went for celebrations and post-funeral libations), but these pubs didn’t offer the haute cuisine as does the Bear in Alderwasley or the Yew Tree Inn in Oakerthorpe where you can get wonderful meals and which are often, as you said, “heaving.” The Black Swan in Crich is also good for a meal, though not quite as “haute.” Here’s to the pubs that are being reinvented and kept going by publicans who are dedicated to feeding us well–may they thrive!–Virginia Smith, blogger at theyearoflivingenglishly.wordpress.com

  2. “It’s not that no one wants to go to the pub, it’s just that going to the pub isn’t a given anymore.” This is very insightful ~ in Totnes, Devon, last November, we tried several pubs. They seemed to be doing well but, these days, people certainly have more entertainment choices in and out of their homes.

  3. I have slowly become Californized its taken 17 years and I now eat salads and don’t drink!. As I sit and read this wonderful post my mouth is watering at the thought of F & C and a pint of beer. April cannot come soon enough., my friends say it will be 45 days at most before I capitulate, I think less than 24 hours šŸ˜‰

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