Hearth of the Community

It’s scary out there at the moment isn’t it? Whether you read this as a drinker, a landlord or a hospitality worker, you’ll have either a shared or individual reason to be concerned. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be going to change anytime soon either. There’s the overall Russian concern, concerns over job stability and, for our beloved pus and bars, concerns over financial sustainability. Like those sitting at home, how are they going to pay their electricity bills?

With everyone, myself included, facing imminent price hikes for utilities, food and other bills, will there be room for beer in our budgets? Will we be able to venture out to our locals (or beyond) for a pint in a bid to ‘do our bit’ and help them keep their lights on? Well, we just might be able to…

It’s impossible to avoid the numerous saddening news stories of venues closing (The Griffin in Castleford being one of the latest) but between them, there are small glimmers of hope, and opportunity for those able. Pubs have been the beating heart of communities for generations now and if we’re not careful, we’re in danger of losing that. Whilst the word ‘pub’ might instantly mean beer that could, particularly over the winter, change to warmth.

In a world where home-working has become the norm, sitting at home might not be as comfortable as it once was. Instead of staring at the thermostat with scrutiny before sticking on a tenth layer of clothing, pubs and venues could provide the answer; allow people to work from them. For a fee of some sort, perhaps with a pint or cup/s of tea/coffee thrown in, not only could someone work remotely in relative comfort, but the pub can also cover a portion of their heating/electricity bill at the same time. And, let’s be honest, who isn’t going to stop for a pint after work too?

This isn’t a new or ground-breaking idea either as venues such as Springwell, North Brewing’s taproom, and Horsforth Brewery cater for those needing a workspace, but it’s one I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of. Not only can those working from home find some company and conversation by working outside of their own four walls, but the pub could find itself some new customers too.

Of course, this isn’t going to be applicable to every venue across the district, but how many would otherwise potentially be heating an empty space wishing for customers? Not only is it beneficial for both parties if done correctly, but it could be the first crucial step in re-connecting with the local community and prolonging the pub being the centre of its local community. If people are happy to work there, they’re certainly going to be happy to eat, drink and socialise there after. Done properly, the pub could become people’s second homes, much like they used to be, with a thriving community look and feel.

It’s a novel idea, and one that may not generate thousands in income but, in the current climate especially, surely something is better than nothing? The potential long term effect is worth considering too, with plenty of opportunity to advertise upcoming events & community projects, enticing further revenue and support.

If I worked from home and my local offered such an idea, I know where I would rather be sat. Imagine being able to say, “I’m going to work,” meaning the pub and having the best of both worlds; a comfortable & welcoming space in which to work, then having a pint after. Sounds perfect to me.

Stephen Carter, Points of Brew 


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