Saturday, 10 October 2009

Pubs closing - cafes opening

We don't have local figures to hand but there is much concern over the number of pubs which are closing. Southside & Newington ward has seen its fair share of such businesses failing.

However there are signs this is not just a symptom of the anti smoking legislation and the hard economic times. At a guess I would say that for every pub that has closed in the ward in the last two years there have been at least two - perhaps three cafes opening.

So are we seeing a transfer from pub culture to cafe culture? It certainly seems so - and that is no bad thing. Until recently the playing field was artificially skewed by local council planning rules which limited cafes opening before 8am and after 8pm in what were deemed as specially sensitive areas (such as the Nicolson Street, Clerk Street corridor).

When set alongside the opening hours of pubs, that intervention and restriction by the council was not only extraordinary but, as so often in these cases, it was an administrative and enforcement mess. Thankfully pressure to have this anomoly removed was successful earlier in the summer.

It is said that Edinburgh's pivotal role in the Enlightenment was nurtured in its coffee houses. I do think there is more chance of the next intellectual revolution being nurtured in coffee houses rather than pubs.

No comments:

Featured post

Local resident Jim Sillars in the news

Former deputy leader of the SNP Jim Sillars lives locally.  He has been speaking out on a couple of issues recently. First, here is today...