London’s pub numbers stabilise

The number of pubs in London remained stable between 2017 and 2018 after falling by more than a quarter since 2001, new research by City Hall has shown. 

The figures identified 3,540 pubs in the capital in March 2018 – an increase of 10 pubs from 20171. A total of 11 boroughs saw an increase in pubs, with numbers staying the same in nine boroughs, but falling in 13 boroughs. The boroughs to see an increase were Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Hackney, Harrow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster.

The traditional London pub has long been a part of everyday life in the capital and research shows that, despite ongoing pressures, they remain a key part of life in the city. According to a City Hall survey, 74 per cent of Londoners think that they are important for the London’s cultural heritage, with 45 per cent visiting a pub at least once a month. The main reasons for a visit are to socialise with friends (68 per cent) and eat (27 per cent). Pubs are also an important attraction for tourists, with previous research showing that 54 per cent of international visitors visited one during their stay in the capital3.

As with the rest of the UK, London has seen a decline in pub numbers for decades, with the number of small pubs in Londonfalling by more than half between 2001 and 2018. However, these new figures show signs of improvement as the number of both small and large pubs in the capital have increased very slightly between 2017 and 2018. There are now more large pubs in the capital than there were in 2001.

Hannah Wright, of The Leytonstone Tavern, said: “After being empty for four years, and saved at the last minute by a community asset order, we were anxious but incredibly proud to give the neighbourhood back its pub. The area is close to our hearts, so seeing everyone pile through the doors on opening night was both reassuring and gratifying. For us, a pub is more than just a place where you serve drinks. It’s a sanctuary for the whole community, existing to help people create real human connections and feel a sense of worth. And it needs to serve it’s locals. That means putting on events for our Little Taverner’s, hosting weddings and all the way through to botanical workshops – as well as never forgetting the glorious, simple act of a good pint and chat with the bar staff.”

Don O’Rourke, CEO for Cityglen, said: “Launching a new pub in South East London’s budding area Gipsy Hill is an exciting and fantastic opportunity for us. We want The Great Southern to be a hub and meeting place for the local community.”