Pubs are closing at an alarming rate, possibly as many as 50 every month. Rising energy rates are the immediate culprit, but so is an increasing tendency among Brits to be "economical" and drink at home.
It's a problem:
The death of the local pub, like the death of the parish church, contributes to the death of the local community. The pub was the place where friendship was fostered over a shared drink and the shared cost of an evening conversation. No man was less an island than when engaging in the English tradition of “buying a round.” And the sad fact is that pubs and churches are not being replaced by something that fulfills the same function of shaping community. There is no need, it seems, since that function has itself more or less vanished. When communal space disappears, communal bonds disappear too.
Pubs (and their American equivalents . . . the quiet neighborhood bars) are one of the last hold-outs against the left hemisphere's successful assault on Western culture. So are the churches, of course, but many of them (e.g., mainline Protestantism; the Jesuits) long ago surrendered to the left hemisphere and the gnostics it births.
- It costs more to drink at a pub. Even though you lose money by doing it, the act of going to a pub implicitly rejects the left hemisphere's grasping, acquisitive, goal-driven way of viewing the world.
- It takes longer to go to a pub. Travel there; travel back; wait for service. It's an implicit rejection of the left hemisphere's emphasis on efficiency.
- You don't know what will happen at a pub. The service might be fast; it might be slow. You might bump into someone cool; you might bump into an ass. It's an implicit rejection of the left hemisphere's need for certainty and control.
- It invites the intangible. Why go to a pub when you can get just as relaxed at home? Why talk with friends when you could hear far more stimulating conversation on Netflix? It's hard to say. The author of this piece offers a few suggestions, but they're not empirically provable . . . and that alone is a good enough reason for you to go to the pub.
- It promotes the local. The gnostics (all of whom, remember, are driven by their left hemispheres) don't like the tactile local, except to the extent it can be made to serve the abstract central. By going to a pub, you strengthen your community and every strand added to the community braid frustrates the gnostic.