British pubs could be saved by apps post-lockdown, but will they lose their soul in the process?

As re-opening approaches, more and more pubs will be turning to new technology in order to keep staff and customers safe

When Wetherspoons made it possible to order food and drink to your table using only an app, pub-goers’ reaction was mixed. Traditionalists, to the extent that they were aware of the technology, lamented the erosion of the ancient custom of mingling at the bar. Younger customers enjoyed the service’s faceless convenience, revelling in their new ability to order unsolicited plates of peas to faraway friends.

That was 2017, which is three years and several lifetimes ago. During that time, other large pub chains have developed similar apps. Greene King have one; so do Brewdog, O’Neill’s, Harvester, and various other well-known chains. In-house software of this kind costs hundred of thousands of pounds to build, probably millions in some cases, but it is a sound investment [ . . . ]

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The Pubs Are Closed, but Brits Keep Quizzing

In an era of social distancing, one British institution has proven resilient.

“Which country has the longest coastline?”

“Which television characters are associated with Wimbledon?”

Sniffled Rotten is an anagram of which famous cartoon character?”

I didn’t know any of the answers. And judging by the many bemused faces in front of me, I wasn’t alone. Some chose to confer with their partners, making sure to turn their mouths away so that no one might read their lips, before scribbling down their response. Others, seemingly resigned to their fate, took a swig of beer and leaned back in their chair. Looking down at my own paper, I knew the chances of my team—just myself and my boyfriend—winning this pub quiz was going to be slim. But hey, there was always the next round.

The questions were challenging, perhaps not unlike those that would be asked of “punters” at any of the thousands of pub quizzes that are typically held on a given night across Britain. Only this wasn’t a typical quiz night, nor was it taking place in a pub. Rather, this quiz was happening via a Zoom call at the Corona Arms, a “virtual pub” that, until a few weeks ago, had no reason to exist.

The outbreak of the coronavirus changed that. The first cases emerged in Britain earlier this year, and any semblance of normal life has since come to a grinding halt. Social-distancing measures have been put into place, and nonessential areas of congregation, including restaurants, gyms, and cinemas, are now closed. In the nationwide effort to curb the spread of the virus, not even a treasured institution like the pub—perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols of ordinary British life—was spared [ . . . ]

Continue at THE ATLANTIC: The Pubs Are Closed, but Brits Keep Quizzing

Missing your local? Why pubs mean so much to so many

Our Beerhunter points out the way our lives connect up around good times in pubs and people we meet there

I’m not sure if I’ll manage to keep a beer column going for the duration of our current exile from pubs but here’s one, inspired by Mark Gilliver, landlord of the Coach & Horses at Draycott, which he has built into a marvellous community facility.

This was Mark’s Facebook post which spurred me into action:

“Life just doesn’t seem the same without The Pub. A pub should be a cornerstone of every village, like a post office or church. It’s a place where a community knits and socialises. It’s a second front room, where you go to meet your neighbours, vent your woes, wind down after a day at work, solve all the world’s problems or join a pool team. You can have a bite to eat, watch the football and it’s the perfect place to take the in-laws when the conversation at home dries up.

“Call me old-fashioned but I think the good stereotypical English boozer has an esteemed place in our history and whether it will still be living and breathing in the future remains to be seen, but for many of us it’s an essential part of every decent community in this fine land. Looking forward to seeing all our friends and neighbours back at the Coach, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

If anyone reading this can’t agree with that then they might as well move on. Wrong article, wrong column! Continue reading