Return of students a ‘large boost’ for UK pubs

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Boozy at uni: students returning to university improves business and morale in pubs (Getty/ LeoPatrizi)
Boozy at uni: students returning to university improves business and morale in pubs (Getty/ LeoPatrizi)

Related tags Social responsibility Edinburgh Freehouse University Manchester

The return of students to universities across the UK this month has boosted business in pubs due to an increased footfall, a number of publicans have said.

The managers said the influx of customers helped to return business to pre-pandemic levels after two years of hardship.

The general manager at The Friendship Inn, Manchester Stephen Jackson said his pub was operating at around a similar level of trade to 2019 after a “steady few weeks” of students returning.

He said: “It’s been quite a strong return to get them back in the pub and create a good atmosphere.

“As we are in Fallowfield we are obviously heavily reliant on the students. It does make a massive, big, big difference.

“[…] They've been very well behaved, and we’ve had no issues. From our point of view, it's lovely to see them back.”

Jackson said his pub took a financial hit when forced to close during lockdown, yet students were amongst the first to offer support when it opened.

He added: “Everyone wants to come back out as soon as we could open again.

“It’s nice to have a pub operating exactly as it should be now, so long may it continue.”

Night fever

An Edinburgh manager who wished to remain anonymous said: “We’re just as busy as we were two years ago with the students back.

“We’re quiet on the weekends. […] A lot of 19 year olds have never been to a nightclub until they reopened just last month. So they haven’t had a chance to go to one at all.

“But during the week, we're just as busy as we ever were.

“[…] They don’t think about Covid at all.”

Sean Smith, manager of the Brass Monkey in Manchester said students arriving had given the team “a large boost” in day-time and night-time business after two years of lockdowns.

A return to normal

The manager said: “Students are quite a large percentage of our clientele.

“Especially surrounding our coming out of Covid, we have less clientele that are older, because they're a bit more nervous about going out, so that percentage is skewed even more towards students."

Smith said the “vibrant” and “noisy” atmosphere of his pub attracted both students and other customers, creating a “really nice, relaxing atmosphere.”

Smith’s pub went through hard times during and after the Covid lockdowns as “nobody wanted to come.”

According to Smith, Covid has caused a permanent change, and yet over the past few weeks things have been “approaching closer back to normal” at the pub.

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