Editor's Blog

A celebration of the original meeting venue

With Christmas fast approaching, chances are that you’ll find yourself in the pub at some point over the next couple of weeks.

Indeed, here at M&IT we’ve just done our bit for the trade by holding our Christmas do at a pub. And it was while ensconced at the bar – after a turkey dinner and a few light ales – that I got to thinking about how pubs are the original meeting and event venue.

Whether it’s meeting up with friends, having a drink with colleagues or even going on dates, the pub is one of the most flexible venues imaginable, serving virtually any need imaginable. One of my local pubs is home to countless clubs and societies, from pork pie enthusiasts to longsword dancers. Not to mention the quiz nights, open mic nights, comedy nights, curry nights... the list goes on and on. Indeed, I’m sure putting on a gig or an event in a pub is often the first taste of event organising for many people in our industry.

However, UK pubs are forever in the headlines for being in decline. Since the early 1970s nearly 30,000 pubs have closed in the UK according to the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), with 21 typically closing every week.

But increasingly, people are not simply sitting back and accepting the loss of a vital community hub and event space. The last few years have seen the rise of the community pub, where people set up a financial co-operative and put in their own money to bring their local back to life. This is exactly the fate of one of my favourite pubs back home in Yorkshire, the Puzzle Hall Inn in Sowerby Bridge (pictured), a quirky, 400 year-old music pub that has fallen on hard times. A campaign group is urgently crowdfunding £350k to save the pub for the community (and feel free to chuck them a few quid at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/puzzlehall).

Like with any meeting and events venue, the festive season is always an important one for our inns and hostelries, with many people making their only pub visits of the year over Christmas. And the Yuletide increase in trade means the difference between a happy and a sad New Year for many. So basically, what I’m saying is have a very happy Christmas and New Year – and make sure you get down the pub.

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