In fact, the Great British pub is no longer the centre of social life. According to the YouGov Market Intelligence Report of 1,856 UK adults, more people would prefer to visit a restaurant to socialise.
There were around 17,000 fewer pubs in 2011 than in 1982, with 26 pubs now closing across Britain every week. But only half of respondents (53 per cent) said the decline in pub numbers is a bad thing, while 13 per cent said they were actually pleased to see them go.
Sixty-three per cent said the pub is no longer the heart of the community – a view even shared by 55 per cent of 18-24 year olds, though more prominent among those drinking in the heyday of British pubs. Forty per cent also think pubs should do more to help organise local festivals and community events.
All hope is not lost, however. Despite the worry that the relaxation of opening hours would create a trend towards late-night bars, the pub is still second only to the restaurant as the most popular venue for a social occasion. Thirty per cent said they go to a pub most often for social occasions while only 4 per cent prefer bars and 2 per cent prefer nightclubs.
Despite the recent surge in chain pubs able to offer beer at low costs, it is still tradition that Britons look for in a drinking establishment.
The most popular kind of watering-hole is the country pub (cosy, quiet, countryside setting), favoured by 43 per cent of Britons. Following closely behind is the traditional pub (no frills, traditional decor, local crowd) which is preferred by 38 per cent and, interestingly, is the most popular establishment among 18-24 year olds.
Chain pubs (inexpensive beer, more modern, no frills) are actually only preferred by 15 per cent of adults - the same amount as who favour gastropubs – though, unsurprisingly, they are more popular among the young.
This latest survey comes just a few days into Camra’s third national pub campaign of the year,Pubs in our Lives, which runs throughout October. The objective is to demonstrate just how often people use pubs for special events throughout their lives, ultimately calling on the public to start using them more often, before more close.
Camra has distributed approximately 6,500 free ‘Pubs in Our Lives’ promotional packs that include beer mats and posters to help pubs promote these important messages to their visitors.