Much has been written and continues to be written about the plight of the British Pub. The current economic climate obviously doesn’t help but the economy doesn’t change the underlying fact that pubs continue to suffer and decline. Some people will blame the price of alcohol in supermarkets, but as I’ve said many times on this and other blogs in the past, “I don’t really buy that argument”. The smart pubs adapt and will survive and thrive. Some very traditional untouched pubs will also survive. Nostalgia and tradition are good selling points. But many pubs in the mediocre middle will continue to struggle and be lost. Of course there is no one magic formula that will secure the future of the pub but I feel sure the answer lies in diversity and quality/attention to detail. One thing that pubs can do if they are not already doing so is to offer free wifi. If I am out on my own I will purposely go for a pub with free wifi, assuming that the quality of the beer is good as well. Even if people only use the wifi for social networking it has to be a good thing. People telling their circle of friends that they are in their local or a specific pub must encourage others to either join them or just go down the pub. There is no such thing as bad advertising. Internet access would be an asset to so many pubs and I have no doubt that it does put bums on seats.
I do acknowledge that there are some pubs that ban mobile phone use along with piped music, TV and gambling machines. These oases of electronic quietness certainly have their own attraction and therefore free wifi would be wholly inappropriate but for many others it would be a useful and welcome addition.