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"60 Minutes" on CBS--"The Future of the English Pub"

Tonight on "60 Minutes", CBS, 7:30 PM Eastern Time--The Future of the English Pub.
(6:30 PM Central Time)
This will be one segment or article on the TV news program.
It may be 15 to 20 minutes long, as there are always several other topics/articles on this program.
It's an unusual subject for an American TV show, but it should be interesting.
I know there are quite a few Forum members who love English pubs.

Posted by
3800 posts

Check your local TV schedule to see when this will run in your time zone, as there is a football game right before it which may run long and push the start time of 60 Minutes into a later time slot.

Posted by
5316 posts

English (British) pubs have been in decline for a number of years for a variety of reasons. People are spending more time at home drinking cheaper booze from supermarkets. The smoking ban resulted in a drop in customers. The increase in price of drinks has alienated some sections of society.

Pubs that manage to make a success of their business fall into several categories. The large chain that can offer cheap drinks and buy and sell in large volume. Pubs that cater for the young crowd and are situated in city centres, close to universities. Pubs that focus on good food, often referred to as gastropubs and well managed country pubs that attract walkers, day trippers etc.

Posted by
3800 posts

JC, thanks. That explains a lot. We did notice there were huge crowds of young office workers after hours at the pubs in London.
We noticed the chain pubs-Witherspoon's and the others. We love to explore the oldest pubs in London and the surrounding areas, hopefully finding many that are not part of a chain. One of my favorites is down a side street in the City of London. It looks as though it's unchanged since the time of Dickens. That's what I like. It's mostly filled with insurance company top brass managers in suits in the late afternoon. Strict dress code; suits for men; suits or nice dresses/pantsuits for women or you don't get in.

Nick, thanks. "village and suburban pubs that local people go to because it is a pleasant place to be." That's what we look for. We are there for a pint, good food, a fire in the fireplace, to settle in and enjoy. We have found a good number of pubs like this in the Cotswolds or after a walk on a trail or path, in the middle of nowhere. We enjoy seeing people in the pub with their beautiful dogs; well-behaved dogs they are, too!

Posted by
1733 posts

This happened decades ago in the US. Local taverns have been replaced by all kinds of national chains like, TGI Fridays and many others similar. There are a few left here and there, but unfortunately it is a dying business.

Posted by
8754 posts

From my very first visit to London in 1972 I’ve always enjoyed stopping in a pub. My travel month has been November so enjoying the warmth of a pub after hours of walking and exploring is a simple pleasure. Tasty and fulfilling pub lunches.

I still endeavor to look for “ traditional “
non gastro pubs as the search takes me to neighborhoods most tourists don’t visit. For me, that’s a plus.

I’m off to London again in a few weeks. The adventure continues!

Posted by
7504 posts

If the late, great Morley Safer was still around, this would’ve been his assignment. This would’ve been right up his alley.

Posted by
6113 posts

Most London pubs are owned by chains as individuals can’t afford the rents. It’s not always obvious. Office workers working from home rather than commuting isn’t going to help city centre pubs thrive.

I recall a headline from several years ago saying a quarter of British pubs had closed in the last decade. Covid hasn’t helped that situation.

In my parish of 2,700 people, there were seven pubs 20 years ago - that’s one for every 385 people including children, which wasn’t sustainable. One has become a Burger King chain, the small one has become a cafe by day and a wine bar by night, two have been converted into houses, two are still pubs (one a gastropub) and one has become an expensive restaurant.

Posted by
3800 posts

It was a good show/segment. I am most intrigued by the first pub profiled, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, in St. Albans. I will definitely visit this place next time we are in London.

Posted by
5316 posts

At least round where I live, there is an additional type to JCs list - village and suburban pubs that local people go to because it is a pleasant place to be. I guess they don't exist in Portsmouth and Hampshire.

Most of the pubs in Portsmouth were attached to the end of a row of terraced houses, with almost a pub on the end of every row. In the past these were often frequented by working plass people at the end of the working week on a Friday and Saturday and drinking at home was a rarity. It it these pubs that have all but gone, not because they weren't pleasant places to be but because of the change in people's working and drinking habits. The pubs that have survived outside of the large chains are those that have focused on craft beer and a large choice.

Outside of the cities Hampshire is still full of fine pubs. I'm currently drawing up my plans for walking the South Downs Way next spring and I'm spoilt for choice for pubs to stop on along the way.

Posted by
1296 posts

One development in pubs is those that have been taken into community ownership. One near me recently was put up for sale after it became a self fulfilling prophesy, closing more and more frequently until it was never open. The community bought it and have reopened it and improved it and it once again appears to be thriving.

Two pubs in the next town are also good examples of thriving pubs. One was on the verge of closing completely when it was purchased by a local brewery and now appears to be doing much better. The other, despite it giving the impression of being there forever, is a relatively new affair. It is tiny but has an interesting and ever changing beer roster and gives the lie to the current supposition that you have to offer food as you can’t make money on sheer barrellage alone - in fact it’s my first choice of pub in a town that is overrun by pubs.

I think who is running the pub and who owns it have a lot to do with success or otherwise. Certainly the straight jacket terms employed by many of the large chains seems to be a failed model and it is the ‘free houses’ (not married to a particular brewery) and craft/small brewery specialists that seem to be succeeding. One large pub-cum-restaurant in our village is slated for closure and has submitted plans for conversion to a care home. I’m not being unkind when I say that it all likelihood it won’t be missed. However the village is now down to three pubs, and one of them has recently been sold (although it does seem to be the busiest of all of them). I’m unsure whether to be reassured or not as I heard it was sold for an outrageous sum.

The British pub might not be in general rude health of late but there are plenty of good ones still around if you look hard enough. Of course, you only discover them through extensive research……

Posted by
7596 posts

I have to agree with some of the UK posters. While the death of a pub may seem a tragic event, it is just a hallmark of changing times, driven by an unsustainable number of pubs, change to drinking at home or other venues, the clamp down on drunk-driving, and the fact that people are perhaps just drinking more moderately, with increasing diversity (craft beer, wine, and craft spirits). Covid with lockdowns and work-from-home, has just been insult to injury.

Just like reductions in nearly every mom and pop business category, it is happening with pubs (for years, this is not breaking news by a long stretch). I think many American travelers are affected a bit more, we have a romantic notion of a pub, going out of our way to visit, but probably would not step foot in a local tavern on the corner back home. We rave about the food, while the locals chuckle under their breath; amaze at a 500 year old building, while the locals are a bit passe about it all. I too, love a good pub, travel to dink beer, but admit that this is more a reduction in quantity, rather than quality.

I would however not cry in your pint of ale so much, there will be plenty of pubs in the touristed areas, and for that matter plenty of pubs just about everywhere, just not one on every corner

Posted by
1296 posts

Well, of all the pubs featured the only one I’ve been into is Wapping’s ‘Prospect of Whitby’, and it has to be said, on my admittedly none too recent visit, it was a terrific pub. I was particularly taken with the solid pewter bar top!

Posted by
5316 posts

I popped into a fantastic pub at lunchtime today after a hike along the South Downs, The White Horse in Chilgrove near Chichester, https://thewhitehorse.co.uk. I can thoroughly recommend the rabbit ballotine with pearl barley. It's more of a country pub with good food than a boozer but that's purely due to its rural location.

Posted by
3800 posts

JC, many thanks for the pub recommendation. We will be visiting Chichester during our next trip, and may make a trip up to Petworth House to see the art collection, so may visit the pub on the way up.

ianandjulie, thanks for the mention of Prospect of Whitby in Wapping, and for your explanation of what is happening to pubs in your area, and why.

CL, thanks for the link to the program segment.

Everyone else, thanks for your thoughts on the subject. I am enjoying reading this thread.

Claudia, lucky you! Off to London soon. We will be looking forward to another of your excellent, detailed trip reports when you return. I can't wait to hear about some of the pubs you will have visited.

Posted by
6642 posts

To add to what Jennifer said, it isn’t alway easy to know who own a pub, but frequently it is on the sign outside the pub. For example, The Hereford Arms pub sign in South Kensington, Churchill Arms in Kensington and Ye Olde Mitre are owned by brewing company Fuller’s. You’ll also notice that pubs owned by the same company frequently have the same food menu.

Posted by
5316 posts

JC, many thanks for the pub recommendation. We will be visiting Chichester during our next trip, and may make a trip up to Petworth House to see the art collection, so may visit the pub on the way up.

Definitely visit Petworth House if you can, the art collection is very impressive and it's usually quite quiet if you go midweek so you can get close to the art and spend as much time as you want without feeling rushed.

Posted by
672 posts

OP -- if you're visiting Chichester, you might find the Weald and Downland Museum worth a visit -- https://www.wealddown.co.uk/

Plan to be in the UK in March and Petworth is certainly on my list of places to visit as the birthplace of George Percy, one of the early Virginia Colony officers.

Posted by
60 posts

For those who are interested, CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, publish numerous helpful books to help locals and visitors alike find historical pubs serving traditional British ale.

Posted by
32228 posts

I watched the 60 Minutes story and was saddened to think that British Pubs are declining in popularity. I always make a point of visiting Pubs whenever I'm in the U.K. or Ireland and that's one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip.

Posted by
470 posts

Whilst many local pubs have closed over the years with the trend accelerating recently there are still 17 pubs within 15 mins walk from where i live in Stratford upon Avon
Coach House, Old Thatch Tavern, Queens Head, Keys, Garrick, Golden Bee, Phoenix, One Elm, Windmill, Rose and Crown, Encore, Dirty Duck, Bull, Red Lion, Paddock , Pen and Parchment and Old Tramway. There are 3 more a bit further away from me
In addition there are 2 new bars offering Real Ale and hotel bars open to non residents such as the Bear and the Falcon
From this you will see all is not lost yet

Posted by
3800 posts

Ken, we also visit pubs when we are in England. We try to find traditional ones that have not been made part of a chain. We found some great pubs in the Cotswolds, where you feel like you're a part of the community; sitting by the fire, sipping a pint and having a meal. Locals bring their dogs with them. These places are cosy and homey, and remembering them are some of the best memories I have of previous trips.
If you go to the Cotswolds on a future trip, I can give you a list of good pubs to try.

Posted by
3800 posts

rogerbrownwarwick, if you've been reading this forum for several years, you know that Stratford-Upon-Avon is one of the places in England that I really enjoy. Thanks for the names of these pubs! I will do a search and visit some of them next spring on our trip!
We have already been to The Queens Head; really lovely, and to The Pen and Parchment. Now to try the others.......

Posted by
470 posts

Rebecca, the Queens Head was one of the first pubs i used when started drinking in the mid 1960s together what was then called the Cross Keys opposite.
Doug and Edna used to run it. Real local characters
It had then what is known as a mixed clientele!

Posted by
620 posts

Rebecca, we too watched the episode with great interest. This spring, we hope to be England-bound for the first time in 35 years: London and the Cotswolds (the latter a first time for both my wife and myself).
Please might you post that list of Cotswold pubs? The only one on Roger's link that we already have plans to visit would be The Mount Inn in Stanton. Its singularity is purely coz we are non-drivers who'll be based in Chipping Campden.

Our ongoing challenge is that I have hearing issues (see 'former rock musician') and just can't handle overly loud places of any sort. Background noise overwhelms my ability to discern what's being said. We are told that arriving around say, 11am at any given pub then later having lunch there, might be the best solution both in London plus the Cotswolds.

I am done. the end

Posted by
3800 posts

Stow-On-The-Wold:
The Queen's Head (good food) on The Square.
The Talbot, also on The Square.
Chipping Campden:
The Red Lion (also have food and rooms).
Broadway:
The Crown and Trumpet--Real ale. Live music in the evenings.
Bourton-on-the-Water:
The Plough Inn, 2 miles from town, in Cold Aston.

Oxford (not the Cotswolds, but nearby):
The Trout Inn--North of town, in Wolvercote, right by the River Thames.
Great drink, food, and stone terrace overlooking the water.
https://www.thetroutoxford.co.uk/
Easiest way to get there for us was to walk the Thames Path up from Oxford.

That should get you started.
I will add more as I remember them.

Posted by
3800 posts

Just thought of another one.
The Fleece Inn is owned by the National Trust and is over six hundred years old.
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-fleece-inn
It is in Bretforton, Worcestershire, not too far from Chipping Campden.
Nice terrace with tables outside.
https://thefleeceinn.co.uk/
A curious medieval tradition also survives at the Fleece. This is the practice of chalking "witch circles" on the floor in front of each hearth to prevent witches from getting in through the chimneys. There are also "witch marks" on the inside of the door, to keep evil spirits out.

Posted by
620 posts

Thx Rebecca! Very kind of you. Travelers have also spoken highly of the Ebrington Arms, just east of CC.
I am done. the pint

Posted by
470 posts

Rebecca
Interesting that you mentioned the Fleece, i been going there for years including prior to National Trust ownership
In fact i have just printed a £5 off voucher for a meal there and waiting to hear from a friend to what day she can join me before booking a table
There is a tithe barn at nearby Middle Littleton also owned by NT which is worth a visit if in the area

Posted by
33002 posts

The Fleece, another of my favs. Go at 'grass season and enjoy some of the best asparagus around. Can often catch Morris Men there too. The first meal out we had after lockdown 2 (or was it lockdown 3??) was at the Fleece, on the way back from visiting my parents' grave.

Posted by
470 posts

Nigel just down the road from the Fleece in the next village of Badsey is the Round of Gras pub noted for its Asparagus auction and also cavery but not been there recently

Posted by
3800 posts

gregglamarsh, you are welcome.
About the Ebrington Arms, Chipping Campden. Great pub, great food, and they have rooms. I am tempted to stay there next trip to the Cotswolds. This would be a great central location for anyone wishing to explore the Cotswolds.

Roger, thanks for the mention of the NT Tithe Barn at Middle Littleton. I will try to have a look at it next time.

Nigel, thanks for your mention of The Fleece and it having the best asparagus around. I really love asparagus, so that seals the deal.....I must visit The Fleece and have asparagus. I would love to see the Morris Men.

My husband and I are planning to give each other a Christmas present this year of membership in the National Trust, so that should open up a world of new places to see next year in England.

Posted by
470 posts

Rebbeca here is the link about morris men

https://themorrisring.org
there would be a link to my local team but here the direct one, they were performing at the opening at the Stratford Mop which is held on 12th October each year which was originally used for hiring of farm hands and servants and goes back to 1553 but is just a fun fair filling the centre of town with rides and stalls
www.shakespearemorris.org.uk

Posted by
8754 posts

A few years back I stayed in the Cotswold market town of Winchcombe. I’d chosen to stay there in order to attend the Christmas Spectacle of Light at Sudley Castle as well as hiking to the Broadway Tower. Visited The Plaisterers Arms, The White Hart Inn. Each pleasant respites.

Not an oft mentioned Cotswold town I throughly appreciated experiencing Winchcombe daily life . Baked goods from the North Bakery, lunch at Honey Bea’s, a private tour of the gargoyle decorated St Peters church, and my 7 mile round trip hike to the Broadway Tower.

Posted by
1296 posts

Many years ago, while hiking The Cotswold Way, we arrived late-ish into Winchcombe on a Friday evening. The pubs were rammed, could hardly get in for a pint and couldn’t get a table to eat at for love nor money. So we visited the local Chinese takeaway and ate a Chinese take out on the back steps of our B&B in the gathering (but fortunately dry and warm) gloom. Frankly, you can’t get a more English experience than that!

Posted by
3800 posts

Roger, thanks for the the link and info about the Morris Men.

Claudia, thanks for the details about Winchcombe. I will definitely be going there to see Sudeley Castle. Will check out The Plaisterers Arms and The White Hart Inn. North Bakery, Honey Bea’s and St. Peters church--now on the list.
Maybe a hike to Broadway Tower is in order.

Ianandjulie, thanks; I enjoyed your story about Winchcombe. Sounds like a wonderful day.

Posted by
470 posts

Rebecca
A pleasant walk past Sudeley Castle is Belas Knap, a neolithic long barrow. its uphill as nearby is Cleeve Hill the highest point in the Cotswolds
You may also interested to know that a steam operated railway runs from Cheltenham to Broadway through Winchcombe, although the station is a bit away from the centre see
www.gwsr.com

Posted by
33002 posts

Ah Winchcombe. I fell over there once on a wet pavement - on the way to get a haircut. Got the haircut and a nasty graze and bruise. My uncle used to play golf just down the street with my father, on the very same Cleeve Hill mentioned just above. There's a cottage hospital there too which I knew well as they helped my dad.

Thanks for the memories Claudia...

Posted by
3800 posts

Roger, thanks for the mention of Belas Knap. That's just the type of thing I like to see--a neolithic long barrow.
"its uphill as nearby is Cleeve Hill the highest point in the Cotswolds."
Then I shall get a friend to drop me at Cleeve Hill, and walk downhill. I've been to Cleeve Hill before. Fabulous views all around. And some kind of marker up there, as I remember. I definitely noticed walkers there, coming along a straight and level path to the right side of the marker, then other walkers on the trail going steeply downhill (muddy path) on the left side of the marker.

Nigel very sorry to hear of your fall in Winchcombe!

Posted by
8754 posts

Nigel, who knew?

I too encountered a problem of different sorts in Winchcombe. The rental I got in Oxford had a faulty transmission. The car wouldn't engage a gear on a slight grade onto Winchcombe’s High Street. Had to ask the two drivers behind me to back up so i could rolls backwards. They did and when i hit level ground turned around and enter Winchcombe via another road. The positive outcome was I called Hertz from the AirBnB and as it was late we agreed that they would send a mechanic with a tow truck. He arrived the first thing the next morning. He looked under the hood, tried to engage a gear. Couldn't. “ You need a need car.”Hooked up the car.
I climbed into the truck cab and off we went towards Cheltenham. Dropped the vehicle at a repair shop
( no cost to me ) and then we drove to a small Hertz rental place outside Cheltenham where I got another car. No additional cost. Named the metallic blue two seater Prince Valiant and away I went.

Posted by
3800 posts

Claudia, what a story.
Glad things turned out OK and you ended up with a better car.
Maybe I won't go to Winchcombe.
Could it be that the town is bad luck?

Posted by
33002 posts

nothing wrong with Winchcombe.

I didn't relate all the good times I've had there over the decades.

Posted by
1296 posts

To reinforce Nigel’s point, nothing at all wrong with Winchcombe. All errors were ours as we arrived late because I believe we stopped to watch a farmer practising for a ‘One Man And His Dog’ type sheep trial, gathering and herding sheep with his dog. It was fascinating and a rather lovely evening, so instead of cracking on we stayed a while to watch. To long, probably. Although when I think back to hiking the Cotswold Way it’s one of the first things I recall.

Also, it being a Friday evening, we should have had the good sense to book ahead if we wanted to eat in the pub, but being bears of very little brain….

It all worked out, if not exactly as anticipated. We didn’t go hungry and I like to think we squeezed the maximum out of the day!

Posted by
8754 posts

I PM’d the OP saying GO to Winchcombe. Other than the auto issue i throughly enjoyed my stay there.

The Sudeley Castle festival Lights was lovely, pints and meals at the Lion Inn and the Plaisterers Arms enjoyable. Enjoyed the docent lead one on one tour of the gargoyle adorned St Peters. But it was my trek to the Broadway Tower and back that made my stay memorable.

Posted by
3800 posts

Claudia, OK, thanks; it's back on the itinerary!
Your description makes me want to hop on a plane and spend Christmas in Winchcombe!

ianandjulie, thanks; good advice. I will book ahead if we want to eat in the pub.

Posted by
620 posts

Has anyone already mentioned The Mount Inn in Stanton or the Howard Arms in Ilmington?
Rebecca, there have been some recent negative reports about the Ebrington Arms, the result of it apparently being bought out, with new ownership and management. Maybe worth your while to check out the very latest updates on TA and other sources.
Hope that your trip goes well in any case!
I am done. the end

Posted by
2782 posts

I love the Ebrington Arms, had a great meal there. The Mount Inn in Stanton is also good.

Posted by
7504 posts

Well, CBS re-showed this story last night, while the Súper Bowl aired on NBC. I hadn’t seen the original broadcast, and only saw the last moments of this second time. But at the end of the story, it said that The Fighting Cocks pub, supposedly the oldest in Britain, was imminently being shut down. Now, a few months later, I’d just read that a new buyer had hopefully been found. Perhaps the report of its demise was premature.

Posted by
2782 posts

Ye Old Fighting Cock Pub is closed, they are hoping to reopen someday.

Posted by
3800 posts

Cyn, I'm so glad you got to see some of it.
That show segment about English pubs makes me "homesick" for England
Thanks for the update about The Fighting Cocks pub.

Robin, thanks for that information.

Posted by
7504 posts

Looking a bit more into Fighting Cocks in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, there were claims that it had dated back to the year 793, and the Guinness Book of Records once even supported it being the oldest in England. That was disputed, and Guinness withdrew the designation 22 years ago. There seems to be no doubt that cockfighting once took place there, into even the early 1900’s. The name is evocative, the activity sickening.

So, stories published just this past week by the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, and even People Magazine (!?!?!) reported the pub shutting down because of Covid-related economic hardship. The pub is actually owned by Mitchells & Butlers, a corporation with more than 1,700 restaurant/bar/pub establishments across the UK, but was leased to Christo Tofalli, who shut things down. Then, 2 days ago, the Telegraph published a story indicting the landlord hoped a new buyer had been found, as well as a lengthy report on the dispute over England’s actual oldest pub.

There was another news report in the last couple days that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had been calling for the pub to be renamed The Happy Hens, or perhaps Ye Olde Clever Cocks, and to have a completely vegan menu. What’s next, exclusively fizzy mineral water at the bar? Maybe impending changes in English pubs are greater than imagined?!

Posted by
3800 posts

Cyn, thanks for more information.
Indeed, the name, and the activity associated with it, is sickening.
About this: "the dispute over England’s actual oldest pub."
I'm sure that discussion will go on and on.

Posted by
42 posts

Lovely thread to discover as we plan our Cotswolds trip in late June. Especially interested in any leads on best ways to find a pub with live, local music in the evenings. We will have one night in each of the following:
Moreton-in-Marsh
Stow-on-the-Wild
Bourton-on-the-Water
Naunton
Broadway
Chipping Campden

Thanks!