Blog: Cappucino culture threat to pubs

Catherine Sleep | 22 November 2005

The rise of the coffee house has changed the face of the British high street. It has also created a space for people, especially women, to meet friends, relax and gather their thoughts. Men always had the pub, but rightly or wrongly many women feel inhibited going into a pub on their own. Guilty as charged.

Does the rising dominance of the café spell the end for British pubs? A research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council revealed that cafés host a far broader range of activities than pubs. On the other hand, many pubs have responded by changing to become more like cafés, at least during the day.

The greater disposable income now enjoyed by women is a key driver in the growth of cafés, the research indicates. No mention was made of one really important distinction between cafés and pubs though. In my view, the fact that almost all cafés are smoke-free zones while most pubs are not is a real draw for coffee drinkers. Publicans will have to commit more sincerely to a no-smoking policy before they will entice more daytime coffee drinkers through their doors.

ESRC study


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