Wednesday 14 December 8pm: Water Witch (Lancaster)
Saturday 17 December : Christmas Dinner Three Mariners (Lancaster)
New era for pub tenants?
What may well prove to be a significant moment for our country’s pubs occurred in July: the coming into force of the Pub Code, with its significant clause allowing pub tenants and lessees to change to a market rent only (MRO) tenancy, in which the tie on beer (and everything else) is broken. This only applies to companies with more than 500 pubs and only in certain circumstances, notably when there is a rent review. The initiative lies with the tenant, and it is always open to the pubco to make a better offer to try to keep the tie. They may yet find one or more loopholes. This is not a revolution. It is not the end of the tied house, nor of the large pubcos. It is unlikely to result in cheaper beer (what does?). It may, however, mark a period of greater stability in the trade where publicans can remain in a pub for several years and build up a relationship with their customers. In this area, there has been a steady trickle anyway of pubs converting to genuine free houses, as pubcos, especially Mitchells, dispose of unwanted pubs to individual owners. We may hope and expect that this trend will now continue.