THE GOOD PUB GUIDE 2021 IS OUT NOW

The Good Pub Guide 2021 is published this week, but after such a devastating year and as 99% of the country is placed under new catastrophic restrictions, is it closing time for the great British pub? ‘I do accept that what we’re doing is extraordinary. We’re taking away the ancient, inalienable right of freeborn people…

The Good Pub Guide 2021 is published this week, but after such a devastating year and as 99% of the country is placed under new catastrophic restrictions, is it closing time for the great British pub?

‘I do accept that what we’re doing is extraordinary. We’re taking away the ancient, inalienable right of freeborn people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub.’  So said Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he announced the closure of all pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes on 20th March 2020. Even during two world wars, pubs stayed open, and their total closure is the first time this has happened in our country’s history.

‘A total nightmare’ is how thousands of pubs have described 2020. Once they were forced shut publicans did everything they could to adapt and upgrade their businesses until they were able to open again on 4th July. And then for four months business was brisk and buoyant and licensees felt they could breathe again.

Then came the second lock-down.  It was a massive shock but nothing compared to the significantly tougher rules for hospitality when the government placed 99% of England under the catastrophic new Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions.  The immediate impact is that there can be no drinkers which even for some gastropubs means losing 30-40% of their earnings.

Pubs without drinkers…warnings of huge redundancy figures…the closure of thousands of pubs – the industry really is facing the darkest of moments.   Could this be the end of the great British pub?

Fiona Stapley from The Good Pub Guide has spoken to landlords and landladies across the country and comments, ‘Despite being battle-weary and worried sick about keeping their businesses up and running – I am pleased to say that these plucky/extraordinary people retain a teeny spark of hope. All know that the road into 2021 (or until a vaccine is widely available) is going to be frighteningly rocky.  But they do believe that if they are able to pull together with loyal customers, local suppliers, a helpful bank and a great deal of energy and luck, many will survive.

‘But – and I cannot stress this strongly enough – it is imperative that we support them because the British pub is special. It is the beating heart and focal point of countless communities, where customers from all walks of life come together and where you can be sure of a warm welcome, a cold pint or a frothing pint of ale and a friendly smile.  It makes us happy to be there and we have to do all we can to ensure their survival.’