I recall my last three visits to the pub, in February, with yearning. Red wine around the fire at an old coaching inn, The Bear, in Crickhowell; a Sunday roast at the Botley Hill Farmhouse in Surrey; a final half-pint at The French House in Soho, which has stood on Dean Street since 1891. And like many who drink in them, I'm willing to put my hand in my pocket to save them.
Institutions such as these are part of the fabric of British life, but a rocky path lies ahead. Last month, a British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) survey found that up to 19,000 pubs may go for good as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The much-loved Lancashire pub chain The Seafood Pub Company – whose Assheton Arms in Clitheroe was crowned Dining Pub of the Year三级成人视频 last September – has already gone into administration.
After months of closure and with rents, overheads and staff to pay as the furlough scheme winds down, the BBPA estimates that while social distancing of two metres remains the rule only a third (12,500) of British pubs will find it economically viable to open – yet there is hope, and customers can play a part.
Publicans have already diversified with takeaway pints and delivery, and many are embracing their role as community bastions with dedication – near Liverpool, for example, has been delivering prescriptions to the shielded and free meals to the vulnerable.
三级成人视频And now, loyal regulars are repaying pubs with fundraising campaigns. The French House launched a crowdfunding campaign, Save the French House, on on 27 April. It has since raised £77,148 of an £80,000 goal, receiving donations from 2.2k donors who hold Soho’s “village pub” dear. Its long-standing landlady Lesley Lewis has since announced its future is now “guaranteed” until February 2021 thanks to a rent reprieve.
“We’re usually very busy, but with high rent and extortionate rates, we have a very low profit margin. The writing was on the wall,” Lewis told Telegraph Food. “We offered discounts on meals, t-shirts and tea towels and hand-written thank you cards from our oldest customer, 91-year-old Dorothea Philips. I’m so grateful for the furlough scheme, the crowdfunding, my fabulous customers and my landlords who all helped save the French House.”
三级成人视频Elsewhere, chef-proprietor Paul Davison of on Lindisfarne, a pub celebrated for views of Lindisfarne Castle, also met his initial crowdfunded target of £5,000 and has since for the pub on the tidal island off the northeast coast of England, which relies heavily on tourism.
三级成人视频In return for a pledge of £100, donors will receive a one-night stay for two people including breakfast (usually £120) when it reopens, while £20 will buy you a whisky tasting to be redeemed in 2021. “With a small amount of support from those people that can help, the Crown will be here for another 200 years,” says Davison, who is thought to be only the 13th licensee in the pub's history.
The latest pub to have successfully raised enough public funds to secure its future is in Hackney. The east London watering hole was taken over in 2014 by Nick and Hanna Stephens who transformed it into one of Homerton’s best-loved local haunts – known for its modern Korean kitchen, weekend parties, and very own Sunday-league football team.
三级成人视频Within less than a week, they had surpassed their target of £30,000 (reaching £37,595), and have since disabled donations. "Although there’s been seven years of relative success, when the pandemic hit there wasn’t a massive reserve in the bank," the pair wrote on their . "When we do reopen, the pub is likely to run at a loss until social-distancing measures are dropped.” The money raised will fund The Gun's rent, bills and supplies.
三级成人视频Meanwhile in Midlothian, Scotland, Penicuik pub The Old Crown Inn has raised £2,407 (well over the original £1,500 goal) on a organised by regular customer Kirstie Wilson, on behalf of publicans James and Christine Martin. “It’s good to see community spirit coming through,” says James, who describes the pub's supporters as a “big family”.
Buoyed by such success stories, many other local, independent institutions are following suit, and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), has on how to use crowdfunding to help their business during the Covid-19 closures.
三级成人视频In many cases, it is the pub's own fan base driving the fundraising. , run since 1997 by publicans Steve and Hayley Pellegrini who also play an integral role in the Cambridge music scene, has at time of writing raised £20,132 of its £25,000 target (novel rewards offered for donations include a £15 Wall of Fame award). The organisers of the campaign, independent gig organisers Green Mind Gigs, argue that “The Portland is part of us.”
三级成人视频Back in the East End, on Commercial Street – a pub with over 700 years of history, frequented by literary greats and famed for early appearances by famous bands – has so far raisedlaunched on their behalf. Their efforts are part of a national effort by the Music Venue Trust,, to prevent the closure of hundreds of independent music venues.
As the chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers Pete Brown points out, Britain’s pubs have “endured plagues, prohibitionists and world wars三级成人视频”. And with the support of their own drinkers, they may survive the coronavirus crisis, too.
Have you donated to a crowdfunding campaign to support a pub, or do you know of any that could do with support? Let us know in the comments below.