The birth of the Pound Pub

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Do you ever get a tad frustrated with all the Pound shops in the locality? Poundland, Pound World, Pound Bakery, etc. They are all quite common establishments, that are growing in popularity across East Lancashire, it has to be said.

Well, the latest Pound venture to hit our high streets, is the Pound Pub. Yes, it had to happen, didn’t it? Your very own cut-price drinking den. A no frills boozer, offering you a tipple for a quid. More round for your pound, one might say – although it does only get you a half measure. A pint will set you back a whopping £1.50!

The Pound Pub has recently been rolled out in Atherton, near Bolton, Old Isaacs being one of two to be opened by Warrington-based chain, Here For Your Hospitality. The other one is in Stockton, in the North East.

Shock, horror, outrage was the initial and predictable reaction from some of the puritanical, holier-than-thou and self-opinionated alcohol awareness groups. Usual blinkered bleating about alcohol being too cheap.

Err, don’t hear too much anti-alcohol tub-thumping about Wetherspoons flogging a half for a quid. What’s the difference? Like I said, “usual blinkered bleating”.

So, what will the Pound Pub offer? It will certainly offer value – but will it be the place for the discerning ale drinker? They open at 8am, and so are likely to attract some of the more, let’s say, “colourful characters” in the locality. Dare I say, clientele that may match the price of the alcohol?

Err, perhaps that’s being a little unfair. The Pound Pub concept was trialled initially in the Atherton boozer, and won a local CAMRA award for their range of ales. Which was good to hear – although they did not offer a discount for members!

There is no Sky TV. So that does suggest it may be more of a traditional pub environment. One that will attract the moderate, responsible drinker – but then again, maybe not.

Let’s face it, it’s going to encourage more people back into the boozer. There are around 26 pubs a week closing. The industry has taken a proper battering in recent years. Isn’t it good for such a pub concept to compete with the cheap booze being flogged by the supermarkets?

I am sure there will be some of you who disagree with these discount watering holes growing in popularity. Fearful it will cheapen the image of a town and take trade away from other watering holes. I can well understand that view.

However, the Old Isaacs in Atherton has proved a success. And like Poundland, you may see the Pound Pub concept grow and grow.

Whether it will prove advantageous to the UK beer industry remains to be seen.