Rovers Return theme pubs set to save the local

A Rovers Return theme pub: hopefully not coming to a high street near youRumours abound that ITV may award the rights to the Rovers Return to a national pub chain, with Coronation Street themed pubs quickly popping up on high streets near you.

How tragic that it has come to this. Our pubs have so lost their way that they may attempt to copy the Rovers Return, which is itself an attempt to copy the traditional community local.

And yet it’s hardly a surprise. With 56, mainly urban, pubs closing each month and beer sales at their lowest since the 1930s the traditional local is rapidly heading for extinction.

One local independent, whose family’s been brewing for 180 years, William Lees-Jones says it’s the pub chains’ fault. And it’s certainly true that taking pubs into management, rather than leaving licensees to get on with it, has led to the creation of McPubs like the John Barras chain, part of Spirit Group, the anonymous managers of 8,400 pubs (about one in seven) and in turn part of Punch Taverns. (Although I should confess that when I worked for Tetley Pub Company in the mid-1990s, an estate now largely absorbed by Punch, I helped roll out some awful ‘concepts’ and attended events where licensees were advised to check out McDonald’s to learn how effective branding works.)

Of course it will never happen, partly because ITV hasn’t been very good at protecting this particular intellectual property, as the pic shows.

2 thoughts on “Rovers Return theme pubs set to save the local

  1. Of course a famous instance of this kind of thing has been the Irish-ication of many pubs. Most paradoxically when they came for Clynes Wine Bar in Chorlton on Medlock/Hulme which had been an Irish pub since time – with the landlord Wosky often wrestling other big spade wielding navvy stock in one of the public bars.

    With the same landlord – who called me “Sebastian” after young Coe – producing bottle after bottle of pochin from the ladies loos and encouraging chugging of the same until dawn etc etc. Oooh, the games we played with the licensing sergeant. But these is now all themed up like some Berlin oirish pub and renamed the Cavendish.

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