Number of pubs in the United Kingdom (UK) 2000-2017

Number of pubs in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2000 to 2017 (in 1,000s)

by Jennifer Luty, last edited Jul 24, 2019
Number of pubs in the United Kingdom (UK) 2000-2017

How many pubs are there in the UK?

There were 48,350 pubs operating in the United Kingdom in 2017. This represented a decrease of approximately 8,450 pubs in the last ten years, and over 12,450 pubs since 2000.

Pubs in decline

Several factors have been suggested for the decline in pubs in the UK. Public houses, once considered an important pillar of British communities, have faced several challenges related to changing consumer behavior. The 2007 indoor smoking ban and rising alcohol prices deterred people from drinking in pubs, sparking a trend in ‘pre-loading’ on cheap supermarket-bought alcohol before going out. Socializing at home has also become more common place thanks to developments in technology and home entertainment. Not to mention younger generations are drinking less, with more 16-24-year olds choosing to not drink alcohol at all.

New trends continue to attract pub goers

Although many businesses have succumbed to closure, the nation’s pub culture is still thriving, albeit in different ways. The popularity of pubs for eating out has resulted in many businesses increasing their food offering and taking advantage of new drinking trends such as craft and non-alcoholic beers. Independent pubs, although having a seemingly higher risk of closure, have in fact increased in number: there were around 4,550 more independently owned pubs in the UK in 2017 than ten years earlier. This may be due in part to the emergence of micro-breweries, and consumers becoming more sophisticated in their tastes, preferring to visit traditional pubs or other independents which cater to more sophisticated tastes than the larger pub chains. Independently owned pubs still make up the largest proportion of pubs in the UK, the rest being managed, tenanted or leased by a brewer or pub company.
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Number of pubs in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2000 to 2017 (in 1,000s)

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