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The rise of the local pub: Why the UK is loving their local

UK Hospitality

There is no denying that the UK loves its pubs. However, during UK lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 crisis, many questioned how loyal we are to our local pub. In a time when people weren’t able to go out, many pubs were forced to close temporarily, and some permanently.


As the second home of the community for centuries, the UK pub is much more than a watering hole for many. It represents socialising, connection and comfort, and is about shared experience with those around you as much as it is about having a beer.


The local pub is the backbone of British society - a place where anyone in the community can go and feel welcome. It is a slice of home away from home and with lockdowns finally easing, the UK public are proving that they love their locals more than ever.


People Want To Support Pubs Through A Hard Time 


One of the main reasons that people are falling back in love with their local pub is that they want to support local businesses after what has been a very difficult year. The number of pubs has been decreasing steadily for several decades, with pub numbers falling by 15% between 2010 and 2020, and the British public don’t want to see more pubs close as a result of the pandemic.


Lockdowns affected the hospitality sector very badly, with a 54% drop in sales over 2020, reflecting the repeated lockdown restrictions imposed on the sector. These kinds of statistics just prove how hard it has been for local pubs to stay alive during this time, and people want to get behind the cause and start supporting their community again.


Pubs are an essential part of the community, and one that the British public don’t want to see disappear. Heading down to the pub post-COVID is about supporting businesses, keeping people employed and ensuring that the local pub remains a staple of British society for years to come.


Brits Also Return To The Pub For Community And Connection


Of course, aside from supporting local business, pubs reopening also presents an opportunity for people to connect socially after a lack of interactions. COVID-19 made many people feel isolated and disconnected from their community and their peers, which has had devastating impacts on mental health. The pub reopening is symbolic of a shift in socialising and an opportunity for connection once again.


This sentiment was confirmed in a poll of 5,500 consumers in 11 countries which found that half of Britons planned to head for the pub as soon as lockdowns ease. The poll seems to be pretty accurate with drink sales soaring since Pubs reopened in April. 


Although outdoor seating has been the only option, pubs and restaurants in England have seen huge success upon reopening in 2021. In fact, outlets that opened on the 12th of April sold twice as many drinks as they did before the coronavirus pandemic struck. This is incredibly encouraging, and proves how excited the UK population is about getting back into their local pub.


It looks like this trend is set to continue as just over a month later, revenues across the hospitality sector are still jumping 43% this week from the week before [16th May 2021]. It seems that the opportunity to socialise and connect with others is high on the UK public’s list of priorities, and pubs provide the perfect location for a social catch up.


All Eyes Are On Safety As Pubs Reopen


That said, people are definitely expecting more from their local pub when it comes to the kind of safety standards they expect. 42% of people said that they would still prefer staff and customers to be wearing face masks when in the pub, while 54% was the average occupancy level that most people said they would be comfortable with.


The vast majority of people (82%) also stated that they would still be looking to find more outdoor seating if available, with mobile ordering playing a huge role in that shift.


People are definitely expecting to see changes to their local pub environment that are in place to protect public safety. With many pubs adjusting their procedures, it seems that they are really stepping up to the challenge and doing the right thing. Public trust seems to be returning as more and more people return to dining and drinking out in their local pub.

May 26, 2021

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