Luke Blackall: Man About Town

Where have all the good pubs gone?

Share
Related Topics

In last week's column, I asked for investors for my prospective trendy kebab house, "Doner and Chipson". None of you responded.

But that's Ok as I was, of course, joking (unless, that is, someone actually wants to do it... anyone?).

The move from journalist to restaurateur is not so far fetched, I discovered this week as I went to the launch of the Draft House Charlotte, pictured, in London.

I met for the first time it's affable proprietor Charlie McVeigh, a man who made the move from hack to pub/restaurant owner via management consultancy.

He's created a mini chain of great London gastro-esque pubs with meaty menus and enough ales to bamboozle a beer bore.

I have always shared the particularly British affection for a public house. Weekends during my school days seemed consumed with trying to get into them; at university the effort was more to try to get out of them and do some work.

I have always quite fancied owning one myself one day (maybe I could put the trendy kebab house next door? Ok, I give up). But this is partly down to a blood connection: someone in my family has, for at least four generations, at some point owned a pub. There has been lots of hand-wringing and debate about pubs and the speed at which they are closing in this country. The blame is pointed with many fingers: the smoking ban, tax on alcohol, people drinking at home, drink driving laws, the rise of coffee chains.

So often not touched upon, however, is the fact that many just aren't very good. Don't misunderstand me, I've seen some brilliant pubs disappear like the demographics who used to frequent them.

But it seems that many die because they aren't able to keep up with what people want to eat or drink or the surroundings in which they want to do so. Thankfully, despite the decline, this one stop on my travels this week reminds me that there are more and more bucking the trend, finding niches and helping us to fall in love with the pub again.

twitter.com/lukeblackall

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Co-Ordinator - FF&E

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Carer / Support Worker plus Bank Support

£10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A delightful, 11 year old boy who lives in t...

Recruitment Genius: Office Furniture Installer / Driver

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Furniture Installer /...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - North West - OTE £40k

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron and Ed Miliband officially launched their election campaigns yesterday after Parliament was dissolved  

All-or-nothing simplicities are going to blight this election

John Rentoul
 

If I Were Prime Minister: Every civil servant would be held accountable by their own civilian 'buddy'

Julia Hobsbawm
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor