In these tough trading times, more than ever, it seems, pubs need to diversify if they want to survive. That’s the thinking behind the White Hart Inn in Spilsby Lincolnshire deciding to bring the joys of the cinema to pub goers.
The pub, which is a 35 minute drive from the nearest cinema in Skegness, is thought to be the first granted a licence to show films coming to the end of their general release, but crucially before they are released on DVD.
Licensee Angela Morgan-Knight explained: “We have a really big function room with a 9ft screen and projector and we can have 100 people in there.” There are plans for a Sunday matinee incorporating meal deals and family tickets. There is some irony here as many pubs are in a similar situation to cinemas when they reached their low point and could do worse than look at how cinemas adapted to bounce back.
Of course pubs have a long history of incorporating technology to attract punters. Currently 3D is leading the chase, but before that we had satellite TV and before that, good old vanilla television. And going back even further, there was the miracle that was radio.
This led to a somewhat confusing licensing situation. In many areas, licensees were encouraged to apply for music licences as the wireless was seen in keeping with the mood for reform and improvement of the public house. However, in some areas, music licenses were opposed by teetotallers on the grounds that children might be attracted to the novelty.
Of course, as usual, London had to go its own way. Applying licensees here were told that it was the opinion of the licensing justices that such issues lay beyond their scope. Thereby neatly sidestepping having to rule on whether a licence was required or not and saving themselves a lot of subsequent work. Crafty sods those Londoners.