The number of pubs, bars and nightclubs with late-night licences has fallen by a fifth over the last five years as would-be revellers opt for dating apps and Netflix over boozy nights out, according to new research.
While the number of pubs and clubs with 24-hour licences has dropped from 919 in 2018 to 742 in 2018, the number of supermarkets and stores selling alcohol around the clock has risen rapidly, says a report from commercial law firm EMW.
There were 2,680 stores in England and Wales selling alcohol through the night in 2018, a 40 per cent rise on 2013.
“24-hour alcohol licenses were expected to boost the night-time economy but this has simply not happened,” said Marco Mauro, legal director at EMW.
“Continued cultural changes in the way people interact and socialise, such as through dating apps, and the rise of Netflix, has created less demand for pubs, bars and nightclubs,” he added. “For most venues the potential extra revenue from staying open 24-hours is still not enough to make those businesses sustainable operations.”
High beer duty and business rates were also cited by EMW as possible reasons for the decline in late night venues. The firm said these taxes had caused a large number of pubs and bars to shut their doors in recent years, contributing to the fall in 24-hour licences.
The shift from drinking in pubs to drinking at home is also reflected in beer sales. Beer sales in pubs fell to 9.3 million barrels in the first three quarters of 2018, down from 9.4 million over the same period in 2017, according to the British Beer and Pub Association’s beer barometer. Supermarket beer sales increased by five per cent in the same period.