Saturday, 18 October 2014

Does Coventry city centre really need more identikit pubs?

Coventry city centre is failing.  Shops are closing and moving out.  If a building remains empty for more than a week it is turned into student accommodation, or so it seems.  

In the last few years, the Leofric Hotel, main Post Office, a 7 floor office block and a Yates's have been turned into student halls.

The Post Office sorting office in Bishop Street has been sold for redevelopment, presumably for more student accommodation.

We have a 3 storey Primark, several pound shops, cheap card shops.  We also have many, many phone shops and bookmakers.  We have 2 Costas and a Starbucks, plus several independent coffee shops.  We have several charity shops.

And we have pubs.

Lots and lots of pubs.

All of which could be located in any town or city within the country.  

Whilst both city centre Wetherspoons have local photos adorning the walls, they are still very obviously Wetherspoons, and whilst the beer is reasonably priced and the food good they are still just part of a chain.

I know that it is a problem everywhere, but we are losing all the pubs with individual character, everything is becoming an identikit pub, almost flat packed to be assembled anywhere.

We still have a few independent pubs, or at least pubs owned by small breweries, hanging on, such as The Old Windmill in Spon Street.

Also known as Ma Brown's, it was in here that my Great-Grandmother, called Granny Brown (no relation) by everyone, knocked a man unconscious with one punch as he was pestering another woman and wouldn't leave off.

There is The Whitefriars Ale House in Gosford Street.

There are a couple more, but they are few and far between and get very busy with people who like to be able to tell what town they are drinking in.

This week we had the news that Cathedral Lanes, another White Elephant shopping centre, has been sold to be changed into yet more pubs and restaurants.

Will they be like a breath of fresh air?

Or will it be same-old-same old?

The first establishment is due to open in December 2015, so I guess we will have to wait and see.

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