Monday 30 March 2009

Closed pubs

I've noticed recently a couple of pubs that have closed.

The Golden Fleece at Calder Bridge has never raised much above the radar for me. While it was still open it advertised free WiFi, cheap food and all sorts of deals. It has never concentrated on quality and never done real ale very well. Now it's closed. Calderbridge has one other pub which, when run well, as it is now, beats this one hands down. The Golden Fleece would be better left shut and changed into something else.

The Globe at Gosforth used to be a good pub for older teenagers. I'm guessing they all do drugs now. It's also never been very significant at the real ale job. Recently they advertised two course meals at ridiculously low prices. They took all the handpulls out and went all trendy wine bar, chrome font and sweaty condensation kind of rubbish. There are several good pubs in Gosforth, this one isn't needed.

Doing deals that costs more than revenue is going to result in failure. Ignoring handpulled ale in a rural location will result in the same; I said so every time I drove past these pubs during the last couple of years.

So pubs, leave the aiming at the lowest common denominator to Wetherspoons. They are good at it and fill a gap in the market very well. Raise your game, get the quality right and charge an appropriate price for it.


Alistair Reece said...

I have said it time and time again, pubs that are going to the wall are usually (not always of course) the ones who think a marketing strategy is derived from cost cutting and special deals. While it may lead to a temporary upsurge in custom, once the special is over the majority of people go back to their usual brand. A better marketing strategy is to build something people actually want, and I guess that most people want a nice pub with decent beer and decent food and probably don't mind spending a bit extra for it.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Hey! Let's buy these up when I'm flush with cash from mountain bikers. I think we could make a great pubco.

Alright, maybe I'm just looking for ways to get back to Northern England.

Reuben Gray - TaleOfAle said...

It is remarkable that publicans do not notice the trend. In Dublin, the only pubs that I see doing better during these hard times are ironically the brewpubs and pubs that sell real craft ale. Ironic because they are not the ones offering special offers and cheap beer. A special offer in one of these pubs is either a special guest beer on cask or maybe an expensive craft beer at the price of a normal beer.

michael-j said...

there are plenty of places to socialise with a drink, plenty of places to eat, plenty of places to use Wi-Fi, etc - the only 'Unique Selling Point' of pubs really is beer - something that bars, restaurants, cafes, etc. normally do very badly at

Curmudgeon said...

I often find that the prominent display of hand-written blackboards advertising karaoke is a good sign that a pub isn't long for this world.

While it is sad that the decline in the overall demand for pubs is leading to many closures, in general it has to be said that it is the less deserving pubs that are closing, as your post seems to bear out.

There's only one on my "beat" where I was genuinely taken aback to find it boarded up - see here - although there are others that once had character but had been allowed to decline by poor licensees, and possibly greedy, short-sighted pub companies.