New pub in Leith
Brig Bar helps reverse the closure trend
Microbreweries are thriving but pubs have been closing at an alarming rate, 31 each week, according to real ale campaign group Camra. However, less attention is giving to those that are opening – and new arrivals have been evident for some time, only they may be a little different to the old men’s boozers.
One recent addition to Edinburgh’s pub scene is the Brig Bar in Leith Walk by the team behind Newhaven’s Old Chain Pier. Not only is this a former pub being given a second life as a pub, but it manager Jim Smith says he hopes to transform the basement into a a live music venue.
The peak closure period was between January and June 2009 when 52 pubs across the UK ceased trading every week, pushing the total across the UK still open below 55,000.
One of Camra’s concerns is that pubs can be converted to a range of uses without planning permission. Camra says that in most cases communities have been powerless to save their locals.
It launched a campaign calling for a planning application to be required before a pub is demolished or converted to another use.
Camra said pubs support more than a million jobs and each contributes an average of £80,000 to its local economy each year.