Kettering’s pub and bar scene bucking national decline

Kettering's pub and bar scene has bucked a national decline.
Kettering's pub and bar scene has bucked a national decline.

The number of pubs and bars in Kettering has increased, bucking the national trend.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were more pubs and bars in the borough in 2017 than in 2016.

Across the UK, 655 pubs closed over the period including in 45 local authorities where 10 or more shut.

But the pubs and bar sector is growing in Kettering despite concerns from many in the trade about the pressures on publicans from the duty on beer, VAT levels and the cost of business rates.

Jamie Lane, chairman of Kettering Pubwatch, said: “I feel Kettering has a good nightlife as we have a lot of variety within the town and cater for various demographics.

“From the restaurant quarter, to cocktail bars, party bars, real ale pubs and live music venues as well as The Yards bar which offers various events.

“We are also a Purple Flag Award holder which is a national accreditation for a safe and enjoyable night out.”

The figures say the number of watering holes in Kettering has risen from 45 to 50 but statisticians rounded each number to the nearest five to prevent identifying individual pubs.

It means the exact increase is not known but it is anything between a jump by one (47 to 48) to a rise by nine (43 to 52).

Pubs and bars to open in recent years in Kettering include Pop Central and The Stitching Pony.

But nationally pub numbers have been in decline in the UK for many years.

Since 2010, 5,745 have shut their doors for good, according to the ONS.

There are just 21 areas of the country that have bucked the decline and have more pubs now than they had in 2010.

Top of the list is East London hipster hangout Hackney, which has a thriving nightlife fuelled, in part, by craft beer.

It had 55 more bars in 2017 than it did in 2010.

A change in consumer habits, with people drinking at home more often, has been blamed for fewer people visiting pubs.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said that many now offered much more than just a drink.

She said: “Pubs have responded to changing drinking habits with a more diverse offering, such as coffee, live music, wifi, creating experiences and food.

Pubs now serve one billion meals a year and are at the forefront of modern British cooking. They also have 50,000 bedrooms.”