Planning a city-wide pub crawl? Someone must be: one of Londoners’ most Googled questions of 2017 was about the number of pubs in London. We asked the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), gatekeepers of the old-school British public house, who told us that there are 3,823 pubs in London: one for every 2,346 Londoners. So you’d need to give up your day job if you wanted to tick them all off.
However, that bumper crop is dwindling: between July 1 and December 31 of last year 52 pubs in Greater London closed down, according to Camra’s new, volunteer-run WhatPub database. Small pubs are the most vulnerable, with around half closing since 2001. Why? Camra chairman Colin Valentine blames ‘a crippling tax burden’, specifically beer duty and London’s new, higher business rates.
According to City Hall’s new London Plan, in the long run pubs can thrive by getting smart with food, non-alcoholic drinks and community activities. But in the short term, you can help by decamping to a beloved boozer for the World Cup final, instead of getting in the tinnies at home. Long live the local!