Reasons to be cheerful: Numbers of UK pubs rise for first time in over a decade

By Catriona Graffius
January 30 2020, 15.15

British pub-goers have one more reason to be cheerful as last year saw the first rise in pub numbers across the UK in more than a decade.

New research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 315 more pubs stayed open in 2019 than the year before, creating a 0.8% increase, the first number bump since 2007. 

Number of pubs and bars by size

While overall pub numbers decreased by 25% from 2001 to 2019, employment figures in pubs have in fact risen by 3% in the same period. 

The general manager of Richmond’s Tap Tavern said: “Pubs are so much a part of Britain and are very important socially.

“In the UK there are pubs everywhere now, it kind of blows my mind.” 

Tap Tavern opened in 2017 after the closure of the Richmond Arms on the same site.

The independently owned company credits speciality craft-beers for its success and claims it has some of the best selections in London.  

Finding limited batches of beers from smaller brewers, the pub stocks different flavours including mango and jalapeno IPAs. 

The pub has also recently opened a whisky bar and serves modern pub food with a twist.

In Richmond Upon Thames, there were 160 pubs in 2001 and 115 pubs in 2019.

The number of jobs in Richmond’s pubs has remained more or less steady at 1,500 people.

BOTTOMS UP: Pub numbers rise for the first time in over a decade

However, not everyone is convinced by the good news. 

The British Beer and Pub Association warning more research needs to be done before celebrating the increase in pub numbers. 

A spokesperson from the BBPA said: “We would cautiously welcome any good news for pubs, however our own data suggests a higher base of pubs, and has shown higher closure rates for the last five years. 

“In the coming months we will be able to report our 2019 pub numbers versus 2018 to confirm if there has been any growth in the number of pubs.

“It remains the case that if people want to see pubs flourish, policy makers need to create the right environment for them to grow.” 

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