Fewer pubs, but better ones Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
I know there's a lot of angst about pubs closing down across the country, but I honestly struggle to think of any good ones that have shut.
I travel around a lot and, in my experience, its usually dreary, badly-run locals that go belly-up.Â
It's an obvious point, but the best pubs are always the best run. And usually independent.
So what makes a good pub? Perhaps the best place to start is in deciding what makes a bad one.
We've all been in them.Â
Cliquey. A poor range of beers. Bad service. The smell of stale food.
The '˜pubcos' '“ giant corporate breweries with tied pubs that have dominated the industry for years, have simply lost the plot.Â
They are flogging a model that's as stale as the beers many of them serve.
Drinkers are more discerning that ever before and willing to shop around.
Luckily, Sheffield is awash with fabulous boozers.
On my list of most improved pubs has got to be the Horse and Jockey on Leppings Lane in Hillsborough.Â
Stancill Brewery now owns it and they've transformed from, frankly, a dive before they took it on, into one of the best community pubs I know, along with themed nights and street food.Â
Bradfield Brewery has done something similar with the King and Miller pub in Deepcar, turning it into a tap room serving their ever-popular range.
While new entrants, like the fabulous Brass Monkey micropub on Middlewood Road, or The Bar Stewards on Gibraltar Street, are showing that brand new places that do things differently and focus on quality can easily find a market.
And I must mention that Abbeydale Brewery has just announced a massive expansion of its site to boost its beer producing capacity by 20% - party as a result of demand for its fabulous new range of experimental beers.
Quality is pushing out quantity. We may be left with fewer pubs in five years' time, but I'm willing to bet they will all be nicer, cleaner, better run and serving fabulous beer.