Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart

The lights have gone out for the last time at my local. For the last couple of years the Good Samaritan has provided quality liquid nourishment to locals and visitors alike. Now the door is firmly shut, curtains are drawn, and everything is up for sale. How has such a successful pub come to such an ignominious end? As usual there are several reasons that have conspired together forcing Roger, the landlord, to walk away. Was it the smoking ban? The global credit crunch? The real reasons seem to be more mundane, which makes it worse, as you can’t help but think it shouldn’t have come to this.

Undoubtedly the biggest villains in this saga are Enterprise. We know that pubcos simply don’t have the same vested interest in pubs that existed in the days when most pubs were brewery owned. We know that they simply see pubs as part of their property portfolio. Only good for raising capital which is then staked on market gambles. Still, the ineptitude and indifference which Enterprise has showered upon the Good Sam over the years is staggering. Here was a struggling pub with many social and financial problems that has been single-handedly turned round. It use to struggle to sell 3 firkins of mediocre beer. Under Roger’s stewardship it was regularly selling 30+ firkins. It use to have a clientele who openly smoked cannabis and operated an illegal bookmaking scheme. Roger threw the pool table out and built up a cross section of regulars. His reward? Ever escalating rents, intransigency, and obfuscation. Beer festivals? Not a good idea. You’d like to sell foreign beer? Sorry we don’t sell them and, no, you can’t buy them from anyone else.

Even the old arrangement that repairs and maintenance were down to the owner has vanished. Get the cellar steps repaired at your own expense. Wiring-your responsibility. New window-your responsibility. Of course you can have a smoking shelter-buy it for £10000 from us and we’ll add it to your rent. And of course since you’re actually selling more beer, we’ll have to charge you more for it. Kafka couldn’t have made it up. Add to this a 6 fold increase in business rates in one year and it becomes clear why Roger has walked away. If you’re working 15 hours a day and coming out with less than working on a checkout, you’d be crazy to carry on. I never thought I’d ever say this, but some things are more important than pubs and beer. Quality of life and family stability have to come first. It’s just terrible that people are forced into these positions in the first place.

So what the future holds for the Sam, I do not know. Left empty for any length of time, pubs usually end up as arson practice. What this says for the local boozer, I know not either. On a personal note, I’d like to publicly thank Roger (and Debbie), for everything and wish them all the best for the future.


linda said…
That's a real shame.
jo said…
It makes you wonder what the future for cask is at local level. If somewhere selling so much of it goes under,what about the not-so-good pubs?
Tandleman said…
Bad news indeed. It really shouldn't have come to this. I have spoken out against pub compamnies before and looks like I'll be doing so again soon. Good luck to Roger.
Sad news and something that's going on all over the country.
I'd say the answer is for yer man to open a free house, but with the way planning and licensing laws are now it will be tricky
pete said…
The problem lies with the Government.They seem content to let these Fagins of the pub world operate unfetted by regulation.The longer this is allowed to continue,the more pubs we will see close.
tony said…
Whenever I've visited the area, mainly for the ELR, I've always called in at the Good Sam. A sad loss for the area.

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