And so, as the onslaught of celebrations come to an end, the hard-working staff of pubs and bars up and down the country prepare for a well-earned rest, while revellers attempt to resume some level of functioning normality, New Year resolutions in tow.
There is, of course, one particular resolution that is usually the go-to for many following a month of festive overindulgence – Dry January. While the idea itself is a perfectly reasonable one, cleanse your body after a, shall we say, ‘heavy’ few weeks, save some cash, and maybe even raise some for charity. The effect it has on the pub trade can make January a month that publicans dread.
Of course, this isn’t a plea for people to sacrifice personal goals in order to boost the bottom line for the pub down the road. But rather, a reminder as to what our pubs are really about. Yes, they’re great for a few pints, a nice bottle of wine, a fancy cocktail or two. But what they really are is an invaluable space for the community.
It’s easy to forget, when taking alcohol out of the equation, that pubs serve a much higher purpose (excuse the pun). Ask the residents of any town or village that have lost their local just how much of an impact it had on their community. It soon becomes clear that these are places that should be cherished, not discarded along with the battered old Christmas tree come the 1st.
Not drinking alcohol may be one reason to stay away from the pub throughout January, but there are so many more reasons why you shouldn’t. Go for the company, the quizzes, the live music! After all, if you’re going to be sober and miserable on a Saturday night it might as well be to a decent soundtrack.
And remember, it’s not like the old days when all you could get other than something alcoholic was a glass of flat coke and a funny look. Pubs and bars are going to great lengths to accommodate the changing times. Why not try a mocktail? One of those tonics with seven different types of fruit in them? Or, dare I say it, a non-alcoholic beer? (they really are better than they used to be, I promise).
The point is, your January can be dry, but it needn’t be a desert. There are so many ways we can still support our great British pubs without buying a pint – and if we don’t, we’ll miss them when they’re gone. Remember, your local is for life, not just for Christmas.
Happy New Year!