Cafes and restaurants are pushing pubs out of UK towns at an alarming rate.
Photo via Flickr user Tom Anderson
The last few of years haven't been great for the British pub. Studies have shown that people would rather get pissed at home than in their local and figures released by the Campaign for Real Ale last summer revealed that watering holes were closing their doors at a rate of 21 a week.
And now there's more bad news for the beer-soaked institutions of British culture: people are drinking more lattes and less lager.
According to new stats released by Local Data Company, an organisation that visits towns and cities to collect information about British leisure activities, cafes are pushing pubs out of UK towns at an alarming rate. The figures show that while pubs still outnumber eateries, the number of cafes and restaurants rose by 6,000 between 2011 and 2016. Pubs, bars, and clubs, on the other hand, declined by 2,000 in the same period. Fast food delivery outlets also took a nosedive, falling by 34 percent over the last five years.
The data, which didn't include Northern Ireland, was collected by researchers who surveyed English, Welsh, and Scottish town centres and tallied the number of businesses, such as takeaways, internet cafes, and tearooms. The numbers were then compared with figures from five years ago.
Commenting on the latest blow to the British public house, CAMRA's national chairman Colin Valentine told MUNCHIES that protecting pubs was a matter of public interest. He said: "Pubs are vital to local communities and economies. They create jobs and bring money into local areas, which tend to be spent in the local area, as compared to large chain cafes. Many pubs help to support the night time economy in town centres and create safer communities after nightfall."
But the Local Data Company figures didn't spell doom and gloom for everyone. South American restaurants rose by 123 percent between 2011 and last year, beaten only by Afghan restaurants. MUNCHIES spoke to Martin Morales, who since opening his first Peruvian restaurant Ceviche Soho in London in 2012, has launched three further South American restaurants in the capital.
"South American, and in particular, Peruvian cuisine used to be relatively unknown to the wider public. This has all changed though as people experienced the dishes and ingredients South America and Peru have to offer," Morales said. "These days, ingredients such as quinoa and chia, those that are indigenous to the continent, are used regularly at homes around the UK, which shows just how far Peruvian cuisine has come in the last five years."
We might be swapping pints for Peruvian today but with Brexit on the horizon, who knows how the high street will look in another five years.