Number of UK pubs and bars rises for the first time in a decade

January 24, 2020 / News & General

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of UK pubs and bars increased for the first time in a decade during 2019.

The total number rose by 315, or 0.8%, last year to 39,130. And it’s thought that food sales have been a driving factor behind this. Figures also showed that pubs and bars now employ more people to serve food, rather than drinks.

“Cautiously optimistic”

Those in the industry are being cautiously optimistic. In the past, bigger pubs and bars have been growing in numbers, whilst it’s the smaller establishments that have struggled. However, the number of smaller venues with fewer than 10 employees increased by 85 in 2019. So, we might be seeing a revival of the local.

A spokesperson for the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said that its own data has consistently shown a higher total number of pubs in the UK, and a higher number of pub closures.

Nik Antona, national chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), also called for a review of business rates:

“Unfortunately pubs continue to close across the country, particularly in small or rural communities. This means the loss of the social, cultural and economic benefits that come with a well-run local.

“To ensure pubs survive and thrive, they need a fair tax system and stability going forward. Camra continues to call on the Government for a review of the business rates system, as was promised in the Conservative general election manifesto.”

What issues do pubs and bars face?

The typical problems that many pub owners face include:

  • People spending more time at home instead of going out to drink
  • The rising costs of suppliers and staff
  • Increased rates and taxes
  • Competition from other pubs and restaurants
  • Lack of investment capital for refurbishments or marketing to generate more customers

So whilst more bars and pubs are opening, it doesn’t mean that others aren’t struggling or being forced to close.

If you are the owner of a pub or bar which is having problems due to business debts – contact us today on 0161 907 4044 or

We can provide you with specialist insolvency advice for pubs and bars. After discussing your company’s situation, we’ll give you our professional advice and help you decide what your best option is.