‘You know you don’t belong’: Why people of colour don’t feel welcome in pubs

Pubs

Pubs are important community spaces which are often romanticised as a key part of British culture, but for some – namely people of colour – the local boozer isn’t a place they can enter without feeling like outsiders.

By Faima Bakar

Kevin Divine*, who is Black, has felt that hostility in pubs many times. ‘When you look at all the flags outside a pub and see just white people inside, it makes you think twice,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Pubs are seen as super British but the “Britishness” they represent is kind of at odds with the kind of Britain I occupy and envision.’

‘One time, I went inside and it was like one of those scenes from a Western flick when the out-of-towner steps into a saloon and all the patriots stop what they’re doing and follow his every move.’ ‘Even the bartender forgot he was pouring a pint and let it overflow.’ Kevin, from Hull, – which was named City of Culture in 2017 – is one of many people of colour who have experienced this sense of being unwelcome in pubs across the UK. ‘That was uncomfortable but a part of me found it funny and kind of sad that people have that reaction to me being in the room,’ remembers Kevin. ‘My friends and I wouldn’t go to these places anymore because why put yourself in that environment?’

While it would be unfair to say that all pubs are unwelcoming purely because they’re often adorned with flags, there is tense relationship between Black and brown British people and the Union Jack or the St George’s flag. Some feel it conjures up images of English nationalism or reminds them of far-right movements – such as The National Front, which adopts the Union Jack in its logo. As well as decor, there are other tangible reasons that may deter people from entering or feeling welcome in pubs – including problematic names. Last year, a pub that shared a moniker with slavetrader Edward Colston was renamed after the Black Lives Matter protests. A chain decided to rename three of its establishments – including The Black Boy and The Black’s head – due to their ‘racist connotations’.

After UCL compiled a database of firms connected to slavery, another pub, Greene King, changed its title due the plantation connection of its namesake Benjamin Greene. A study last summer found that one in three people would avoid pubs if they had a racist name or signage.

Kevin isn’t alone in his wariness towards pubs. Anthony, a Filipino person who has lived in Newham his whole life, has a pub at the end of his street – but he never goes in.

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Covid: Will the UK’s pubs stay shut until May?

Previous lockdowns suggest hospitality could be facing one of the longest routes back to normality.

By Paul Seddon

A world-famous British institution, they have been, along with other hospitality businesses, especially hard hit during the pandemic.

And previous lockdowns suggest both pubs and restaurants are facing a longer route back to normality than other sectors hit by periods of closure.

Recently, one group of scientists advising the government warned against reopening the sector before May.

Although the government is aiming to give over-50s a first vaccine dose by the spring, that would still leave a large number of people unprotected, they argue.

One of the scientists, Dr Marc Baguelin from Imperial College London, said even a partial reopening before then could mean “unsustainable” pressure on the NHS.
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Most UK restaurants, pubs to go bankrupt

LONDON: Almost three quarters of UK pubs and restaurants expect to shut permanently next year following damaging coronavirus restrictions, an industry poll indicated on Thursday.

The British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping and UK Hospitality said in a statement that 72 per cent of surveyed businesses “expect to become unviable and close in 2021.”

The survey, conducted by market research company CGA, also showed that pubs and other hospitality businesses want the UK government to provide more support.

CGA polled 446 businesses representing more than 20,000 venues nationwide during November.

“The evidence is here to see of the devastating, long-term impact the government’s restrictions are having on hospitality and pub businesses,” the three trade organisations said in a statement.

“Without a change in approach and more support from government, much of our sector could be gone within a year – that means businesses and jobs lost plus much-loved venues closed forever.”

English pubs temporarily closed their doors on Nov 5 as the country effectively shut down for the second time this year to try to curb spiking Covid-19 infection rates.

The current lockdown has also shuttered restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops and services until Dec 2, with hopes business could resume in time for Christmas.

To help cushion the blow, the government has rolled out a new multi-billion-pound support package by extending its furlough jobs scheme paying the bulk of workers’ wages until the end of March. – AFP

Source: Most UK restaurants, pubs to go bankrupt | New Straits Times

Are rural English pubs a thing of antiquity?

Rural pubsLandlords across the country are stuck between a rock, and a hard place with pubs fastly becoming an endangered species.

Rural English pubs are on a life support machine, and the visitors have long stopped coming by. Much like a vegetative patient, there’s understandable pain and anguish at the idea of letting them go. But deep down, we know we hardly visited them when they were alive. So, there comes a point when it’s best to turn off the machine.

Nicki and Oliver Wolfe have run a 13th Century pub in North Devon since the early ’90s when the village pub truly was the beating heart of the community. Those days, Nicki would come through to their adjoining house after her busy shift in the kitchen smelling of chip fat, and Oliver pulled pint after pint while inhaling the second-hand smoke of others. Continue reading