Pub-goers start earlier due to 10pm finish time say Shropshire landlords

As pubs across the country get used to an earlier closing time, customers have been taking to their favourite drinking spots earlier in the day, Shropshire pub owners have said.

Tom Sutton, landlord of The Anvil in Shifnal
Tom Sutton, landlord of The Anvil in Shifnal

It has been nearly a week since pubs and bars were ordered to shut up shop at 10pm, and venues have had their first weekend of calling an early last orders.

Tom Sutton, landlord of The Anvil in Aston Road, Shifnal, said the venue had been taking bookings for earlier in the day.

"Obviously it's not ideal, but you have to do what you're told. It's had a small impact on trade but we've noticed it's meant people are coming out to drink earlier, especially on the weekend.

"We were still busy at the weekend just gone, but obviously you've lost two hours on each Friday and Saturday so that will have some impact.

"We've got bookings this coming weekend for earlier on which is good for us. People are coming out earlier which means we're not losing out too much past 10pm.

"I hope it's only temporary – if it stays for six months I don't think it'll affect us too much.

"It would be good to see restrictions ease in coming months if it's safe to do so in the lead up to Christmas, which is our busiest time."

Duncan Borrowman, joint licensee of The Bailey Head pub in Oswestry, said he was concerned the new legislation could be encouraging people to drink in "less controlled environments".

He said: "Our general view is that the 10pm close isn't much of a problem for us.

Tom Sutton, landlord of The Anvil in Shifnal

"However, it is sending people to drink in much less controlled environments.

"Our real concern is that the messaging coming out from the government is that there is a danger in going out to pubs and restaurants, which is scarring people away, when only 3 per cent of outbreaks come from pubs and restaurants."

Meanwhile, Adam Caton of The White Hart in Shifnal, said his customer base meant his High Street venue has not lost out on a great deal due to an early close.

"Our pub is quite traditional. We're a small, family-owned business so it's been a bit different for us," he said.

"Thankfully, we're not majorly affected opposed to some of the bigger pubs.

"We generally have our regulars in who have just moved an hour forward, where they would book for 9pm they've booked for 8pm and so on.

"Under these circumstances, Friday and Saturday were a little difficult to manage with getting customers out in time for the next booking which was earlier than it otherwise might have been."

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