King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, October 15

Remembering the sad passing...

Tonight at silly o' clock, the delightful Tania will be arriving back in the UK, and so I thought it was time my father met the future wife (just kidding Dad, stop sweating). So, the usual plan of meeting in a pub halfway between here and his place was put into plan. The favourite haunt of the past year or so was a small 17th century pub smack in the middle of a quaint English town called Bromyard, called the Bay Horse. It does good food (just not much of it, the menu's only one page), the barstaff are friendly, it has a nice car park with beer garden that's a complete sun trap, and generally ticked all the boxes. It also has rooms, so I thought it would be nice if John stayed at a friend's house after school Friday and we pick him up Saturday after a pleasant evening in Bromyard along with the treat of a comfy bed and not having to worry about the drive home.

So, swinging into action, I googled the pub to get their phone number. Just after midday and before they get too busy, I try to phone. After an eternity, I realise they must be busy because no one answers and I decided to try again half an hour later. Still no joy this time, and I get suspicious. So I google the pub again, and notice near the bottom of the first page the headline "Bay Horse Landlord calls time before festival."
Ah. Bugger. The pub was a popular pub, with it's town centre location it was bound to be. It was a real pub that served food, not a 'gastro-pub' (aka restaurant with a bar), and this was probably why it was suffering. Admittedly, it's a well known fact since the smoking ban that pubs have been hit really badly anyway. But the recession has hit the industry hard anyway, and who realistically wants to pay upwards of £2.50 a pint when you can drink at home for a fraction of the cost. Interestingly, the article mentions Enterprise Inns. I first came into contact with them some 10 years ago when my local was taken over by them. Some would say business is business, but the way they work is very unsporting. They buy the pub, then rent out the license etc to anyone prepared to take it on, but at a truly extortionate rate (as much as 60% on top), and this means that the pubs find they have new owners every 3 to 6 months. This'll also be why the Bay Horse closed. I know times are hard, but some sort of regulatory service needs to be set up to kerb this industry before it ends up on it's arse once and for all.
I don't know about you, but I think instead of having a campaign for real ale, we need a campaign for real pubs.