July 11, 2022

Cheers (Drink to That) - The UK’s largest pub is set to open in Waterloo.

Anyone traveling through Waterloo from next month will be able to stop off and have a drink in the UK’s largest pub, as craft beer brewer and operator BrewDog have announced they are opening their biggest ever venue in the newly redeveloped The Sidings in Waterloo Station.

It offers a glimpse of how the bar of the future could integrate with both the work and leisure parts of life as it features, among other things, co-working spaces and pods, a microbrewery, a GRIND cafe, duckpin bowling alleys and a podcast studio.

James Watt, co-founder of Brewdog, said; “This is our new flagship bar for London so we are making it a true destination. Record your own podcast, explore our hidden cocktail bar, or stoke some competition with a game of duckpin bowling or ping-pong. BrewDog Waterloo has something for everyone, and we cannot wait for to open our doors this August.”1

Last month BrewDog announced that its global bar business achieved revenue growth of 31% in 2021 compared to 2020, with ‘record sales’ achieved so far in 2022.

Whilst a new flagship bar opening for one of the U.K's strongest hospitality brands is great news, it bucks the general trend of pubs being more likely to close than open. There are fewer pubs in England and Wales than ever before, according to analysis and research from the real estate advisers Altus Group that sheds light on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and rising business costs.

The total number of pubs dropped below 40,000 during the first half of 2022, a fall of more than 7,000 compared with a decade ago.2

The trend for an increasing amount of pubs closing in the UK has been around for nearly 20 years, it’s part of a bigger societal change that outdates the pandemic period, but no doubt the last couple of years have helped to accelerate it as the hospitality sector faced immense challenges with national lockdowns that caused closures and reduced demand.

Robert Hayton, Altus Group’s UK president, said:

“While pubs proved remarkably resilient during the pandemic, they’re now facing new headwinds grappling with the cost of doing business crisis through soaring energy costs, inflationary pressures and tax rises.”

According to research from the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and UK Hospitality, only 37% of hospitality businesses are turning a profit.

Here’s a pub pub quiz question for you: What is the most common pub name in the UK? Anyone who said The Crown, unlucky, as that is second. The answer is The Red Lion.

But maybe in time this will change, as traditional pub names are on the decline, a reflection of the problems facing licensees and the success of the craft brewing boom. Data from the Food Standards Agency revealed there were 103 fewer licensed establishments with “Inn” in the name in 2022 compared with 2020 – the biggest faller. “Arms” was also down by 49, while “Bar” was up by 119 and “Tap” up by 48.3

Analysis of more than 51,000 licences over the two-year period, collected by GetTheData.com, an open source data website, reveals that words associated with traditional names were those that were mostly on the decline, such as Royal, Crown, Lord, Prince, Greyhound, Horse, Coach and Duke.3

MUSIC FOR SHOTS, FOR SHORTS, FOR SHAKEN AND STIRRED, FOR LINGERING LONGER AND ORDERING SOMETHING STRONGER.

Whatever the name is of your fine establishment, clearly a lot goes into creating a great pub and bar experience.

Yes, music is important, but it takes more than just music. We call it Music+.

For us at Startle, it is something customers tell friends about. Like a pub quiz played entirely through your phone and based on identifying songs you hear as you drink and chat with friends. It elevates a brand to distinction, with the atmosphere of all sites harmonising in unison. Ultimately it improves your bottom line.

Tell me more, tell me more - What does a great pub experience look like?

Imagine an atmosphere that’s built to run itself, optimising the music and lighting to make sure the experience is always at it’s best and keeps the tills ringing. Couple that with incredible music mixes that are integrated seamlessly with your atmosphere and we’re suddenly talking about the bar of the future which we’re already building.

Walk this way, talk this way…

You have to walk the walk if you talk the talk, so here’s Will Barratt of Wine Inns on how we helped transform their brand’s customer experience:

“Startle's music+ service is exceptional. Their playlists are fantastic and I can control all of our venues from my smartphone. The service is backed up by Startle's Relentless Support™ team who are always on hand to answer any question or fix any issue immediately.”

Why not download for free (and with very little effort) our hospitality brochure? There is one for pubs and restaurants, as well as bars, hotels and cafes.

And if you think we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on +44 (0)203 397 7676 or drop us an email at hello@startlemusic.com.

References:

1Big Hospitality; ‘Big Dog: Brewdog to launch UK’s largest pub next month’. 5th July 2022. https://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Article/2022/07/05/uk-s-largest-pub-to-launch-in-waterloo-brewdog

2The Guardian; ‘Number of pubs in England and Wales falls to record low’. 4th July 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jul/04/number-of-pubs-in-england-and-wales-falls-to-record-low-covid-19-soaring-costs

3The Guardian ‘Inn is out as locals favour Bar and Tap for new pub names’. 3rd July 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/jul/03/inn-is-out-as-locals-favour-bar-and-tap-for-new-pub-names

Cheers (Drink to That) - The UK’s largest pub is set to open in Waterloo.

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