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Do pubs still have a bell to mark closing time ?
A lot of pubs have a late licence, but close before that time because there's no customers left in them. So I suppose that technically they don't have to call closing time 10 minutes earlier in that case.
I must admit though, I can't remember hearing a last orders and drink up please call for years. Maybe it's just fallen by the wayside, the ridiculous process of announcing to your customers that you've had enough of them so bugger off now please!
Most of the pubs I know do still have a bell but these days there seems to be so few customers around at "closing time" that the voice is sufficient.
With 7 pubs a week closing down the local pub is in danger of being a rarity in the UK. Within 3 miles of where I live there are already 6 pubs boarded up or To Let and I reckon that in January there will be a significant number throughout the UK that will be doing the same.
"With 7 pubs a week closing down the local pub is in danger of being a rarity in the UK"
This could be something to do with prices.
On Saturday we were in Solihull and popped round to a local pub and I bought a pint of Guinness and a Smirnoff Ice for the lady, came to a shade over £7. That evening we went into a Wetherspoons, also in Solihull, and the same drinks came to £3.65, coincidentally the same price as the Smirnoff Ice in the previous pub.
Many people call Wetherspoons for being the Tesco of the pub world, but they have loads of different, often very local, beers, and they're always well kept and served properly chilled.
When some pubs charge almost £2 for a glass of fizzy coloured water that they call Coke it's no wonder people are flocking to Wetherspoons or drinking at home...
"...and served properly chilled"
I have to disagree with you there, I don't want bitter served at minus 10!
In the pub I managed I had a bell which was once a fire engine's bell (it had fell off a lorry on it's way to the docks). The actual fire engine was on its way to the USA to a museum I think. anyway I digress. At closing time it could be heard half a mile away even with the doors closed. so it only needed one little "Ding" to empty the pub. I passed the bell on to my local fire station when I left the pub, and they were delighted to have it.
A custom in service messes is for anyone who wants to buy a round of drinks, to celebrate a special occasion to ring the bell at the bar. This is the signal for everyone to come and join him/her. If you ring it accidentally you still have to buy the round.
Totally agree about the prices in some pubs but in mitigation the PubCo`s are responsible for hiking up the prices to their tenants who have no choice but to charge higher prices in order to keep their margins and earn enough to pay their rents. Hopefully with enough profit at the end to keep in business.
Wetherspoons have a very different trading model for their pubs and it is reflected in their customer base and their profitability however I believe they are all managed pubs as opposed to individuals who rent their pubs as individuals or partnerships.
I work for a small brewery on a part time basis and the fact that we cannot sell our real ales to the PubCo`s or their tenants at reasonable prices is very frustrating. "Tied" agreements are killing the pub industry and the most successful local pubs we deal with are Free Trade or smaller chains of pubs who welcome our beer at about 30-40% cheaper than through a "Tied" agreement.
They only chill the nitro-keg stuff, bitter is served at cellar temperature, 5-10°C
Yes, Wetherspoons pubs are all managed, but they must have some kind of local buying agreements as some of their pubs round my way sell beers from a couple of tiny local breweries...
Years ago around our way, the bell was used only to get rid of non-locals. Friday and Saturday nights, there were always 'private friends and family sittings' where no money changed hands, but the slate came in very useful!.
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