Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

What is it with the British and their local? I have just found out that a new pub will open two streets away. To be precise, it closed down a few years ago, and someone wants to reopen it. I can’t believe it. Honestly, we don’t need another pub: there is at least one at every corner of every street where I live. It is not too bad during winter, but it is a nightmare when it gets warmer: drunken patrons start shouting in the streets, peeing everywhere and occasionally fighting during the wee hours of the night. And it is the same in most parts of London. Lovely.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that British pubs are a way of life. They are so much more than places where you drink. Pubs are where most singletons meet their other half. The most important business meetings happen down the pub. And if your boyfriend doesn’t commit to you while having a pint or two, then the relationship is clearly doomed: everybody knows it. I get it: over here, pubs are where most important life milestones happen. That said, don’t you think that it is a bit sad to need booze to open up? What happened to theaters, cafes and art galleries? What is wrong with us? Don’t you think that it is a complete non-sense?

Seriously, I counted 11 places (without the new pub) where you can buy booze, and they all are two blocks away from where I live (we are talking about a radius of something like 110 yards or 100 meters). Some are restaurants, others pubs. I didn’t even count the corner shops. Do we really need a another one? Really? I don’t think so. I have therefore decided to object to the new place’s license and there will be a hearing at our council in a fortnight. I am told that the license will be granted, even if there is fierce opposition in the neighbourhood. It makes you wonder why we are consulted at all if our objections are not going to be considered anyway. I hate this ‘tick-in-the-box’ culture over here: the neighbours needs to be consulted. Check. It doesn’t matter what they say, it is something that you need to do. Check. We might (only might) be able to reduce the opening hours (until 11.30pm in the actual application!), impose some additional sound insulation, and prevent customers from drinking outside, but apparently that’s as far as it goes, and it is certainly not a given at all. Come on, this binge drinking culture needs to stop! Why would we want to make it even easier to get drunk? What is there to gain exactly?

I know that I sound like an old bore, but honestly, where does it stop? Maybe they want all the residents to get sloshed at every possible opportunity? Why don’t we have ‘drinking streets’ then, where all houses have a public bar? I thought that there was a housing shortage in London, why don’t they convert the new pub into flats? Or a health club with a cafe? Surely it would be money better spent? I really don’t understand this booze culture. Wish me luck for the hearing!

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London