United Kingdom

Traditional British pubs could be scrapped for Bavarian-style beer halls

Traditional British pubs could be scrapped and replaced by Bavarian-style bierkellers as they reopen after the coronavirus lockdown, industry leaders have said.

Under the plans, bar stools could make way for trestle tables and benches, with pint glasses scrapped in favour of two-pint steins to help reduce contact with bar staff.

The discussion over the future of Britain's public houses comes as 40 per cent of British pubs face closure due to the 'devastating impact' of coronavirus.

Despite all pubs hoping to reopen by the end of the month bringing cheer to millions of thirsty Britons, drinkers have been warned to expect them to resemble 'zoos' with one-way systems and fewer standing areas.

In a bid to comply with social-distancing rules, raucous bierkellers have been suggested as a possible blueprint for British pubs to copy.

The proposals have received the backing of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

Traditional British pubs could be scrapped and replaced by Bavarian-style bierkellers as they reopen after the coronavirus lockdown (pictured: Munich, Germany, September 2018)

Under the plans, bar stools could make way for trestle tables and benches, with pint glasses scrapped in favour of two-pint steins to help reduce contact with bar staff (pictured: Munich, October 2019)

Emma McClarkin, BBPA Chief Executive, said: 'We are closely monitoring what other countries are doing with the opening of their bars and if there is anything we can introduce.

'The German-style may work for some of our pubs.

'The main thing we are focusing on is social distancing. The two metre distancing is the biggest challenge pubs will face.

'I think our pubs will obviously have more tables in their bars to allow more table service and less standing at the bar.

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'There'll be less interaction between customers and between customers and staff.

'This will be hard for pubs with lots of standing area around the bar and lots of bar service. We will always need to maximise outdoor space.

'I was talking to somebody yesterday who said pubs used to be like safari parks where you were in your car and could go by yourself around the park.

'Now they are going to be like zoos when you are sent past in one direction and you have to follow the route.

'We are focusing on how that might work. It might be single file or there could be arrows in one direction to follow on the floor to limit constant crossing of people.

'No one pub is the same. Lots have nooks and crannies. Some have next to no space to go around the bar. We are trying to find something that works for customers and staff.

'It will be our own British way of doing it.

'All the countries on the continent are going to be waiter-service only to maintain social distancing and table service by staff is going to be the way forward for some time.

'I think there is going to be a new normal and we have to find what that normal is going to be.'

It is thought that large pub chains, such as Wetherspoons will find it easier to open due to their large open-plan layouts while smaller bars will be forced to be more creative.

CAMRA's National Chairman Nik Antona said: 'The forced lockdown of the nation's pubs could have a devastating impact on the industry, with estimates that up to 40 per cent of the nation's pubs will close their doors for good.

'It's therefore imperative that pubs can open as soon as it is safe to do so, and all ideas to bring this about are welcome.

'Having an open space where you can mingle at the bar and order drinks is an essential part of the pub-going experience as it gives visitors a chance to make friends and socialise in a common area that they don't find in cafes or restaurants.

'I'd be very concerned if this intrinsic pub characteristic is removed and rationing introduced in the name of safety and it then becomes the norm in the months and years to come, forever changing the heart of our pubs.

'Furthermore, many pubs will be unable to re-open with social distancing measures in place and could be left behind as the situation moves forward.'

British drinkers have given a mixed response to calls to replace traditional pubs with German beer halls and steins for pint glasses.

British drinkers have given a mixed response to calls to replace traditional pubs with German beer halls and steins for pint glasses (pictured: Munich 2019)

Writing on Facebook, David Elson said: 'I've been to Oktoberfest in Munich before now and it was fantastic but I would hate it if my local turned into one.

'When the pubs do reopen I want to go down for a few pints, not a whopping great stein while listening to an oompah band!'

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The venues are often small and pack tables closely together to offer cheaper meals to customers, but this will be under threat if everyone has to be more spaced out.

Bosses are also concerned that the elderly and the Asian community have been particularly badly affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Shahab Uddin, who owns Streetly Balti in the West Midlands, said: 'My restaurant is quite small – we've built our reputation on being small and cosy. After Covid-19 I don't think cosy and small is going to work.' 

Professor Monder Ram, an expert in ethnic minority entrepreneurship at Aston Business School, added: 'The traditional model in this sector has always been low tech, low wages and low prices.

'This is unlikely to survive in the future and major changes will have to be introduced.'

Andy Glaves added: 'I've got a horrible image in my head of pub landlord Al Murray wearing lederhosen! Please no, leave our pubs alone!'

It comes as brewers are preparing to restock Britain's pubs with a record 250million pints of beer - with bosses hoping watering holes could throw up their doors again within weeks. 

Breweries are aiming to produce the staggering amount of drink within the next two weeks as Ministers draw up a 'secret blueprint' to help the UK's pubs reopen again.

Pubs are likely to be told to use an app - like the one already in place at Wetherspoon outlets - to get drinkers to place their orders in a bid to avoid crowded bars. 

Meanwhile chiefs at the some of the country's biggest breweries have promised to deliver kegs of beer to pubs from the middle of this month, reported the Sun.

The June 15 delivery date comes despite the Government's roadmap out of  the coronavirus lockdown stating pubs can only open at the start of July at the earliest.  

However pub bosses and brewery chiefs are hoping restrictions on pubs, which have been closed since the night of March 20, could be lifted earlier than next month.

And with venues serving food re-opening on Saturday, all other pubs were allowed to follow suit on Monday.

Some restrictions remain in force with landlords told they must provide table service and record everyone who has been there.

Many pubs say they have not been able to open straight away due to staffing and other matters.

One in four Britons is drinking more alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown... with a quarter of a million downing booze before MIDDAY 

More than a quarter of Britons have turned to drink during the long weeks of lockdown.

A total of 27 per cent of adults say they have been downing more alcohol since March 23 – totalling more than 14million people, according to a survey released yesterday.

More than 260,000 have fallen into the habit of drinking in the morning.

The survey said the increase in alcohol consumption works out at 12.6 units a week during the daytime for an average person – plus another 14.6 units in the evening. That is the equivalent of two pints of beer or four small glasses of wine each day.

The survey, for Direct Line Life Insurance, suggested that 14million are snacking routinely, while ten million have increased the amount of unhealthy food they eat.

Polling was carried out by Opinium among 2,000 people in late April.

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