Trade has been mixed across the country during the last week as pubs near Olympic venues reported strong sales while London’s West-End was described as a “ghost town”.
Gary Kirby, manager of the George and Dragon in Dent, Cumbria, said: “There is nobody about. We are a hell of a lot down on what we were this time last year, and it had been bad anyway because of the rain.
“We would normally be getting a lot of walkers coming through but we are just not seeing them. It really is dire.”
He added: “I have never been in favour of the Olympics - I thought it was brilliant when we won it but when the spending figures started coming out and the recession kicked in, it became clear we simply couldn’t afford it.”
While John Ellis, who runs two pubs in Shropshire called the event a “disaster for trade”.
He added: “I am being contacted by so many breweries who are trying to sell beer. Every brewery I speak to is the same - the demand is just not there.”
Sonia Hickman, licensee at the Olde Bull Inn in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has run a number of events for the Olympics.
She said: “We’ve got a big screen up and for the opening ceremony we hosted some live music.
“People are coming into watch the Games for the atmosphere in the pub during the big events. We’ve seen drinks trade increase.
“I think trade will stay pretty much the same. People are interested in all the Games, there’s no particular sport they want to watch, so I think this will be consistent over the next week.”
Mitch Adams of the Thatchers Arms in Mount Bures, Essex, is giving away five free battered onion rings each day Team GB wins gold when customers buy a pint of Brewers Gold.
He said: “We’re not showing the Games but we have been pleasantly surprised at the good trade even though we are quite far out of London. We’ve been giving away free battered onion rings when people buy a Brewers Gold, each day Britain wins a gold medal. I’ve been posting the offer on Facebook and I’ve noticed some people have just been coming down for the offer.
“Being far away from London, I don’t think we will see a massive difference in trade.”
Robin Carey at the Jolly Crispin in Dudley, West Midlands, is also unable to show the Olympic Games as he does not have televisions in the pub.
However, he said that there is a “feel-good factor” among customers in the pub.
He said: “The Olympics is not making an awful lot of difference because we don’t have TVs. But what I have noticed is that people are still talking about the opening ceremony and are getting involved by watching all the sports. It’s a real feel-good factor. Not even football [gets this much attention].”
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