Since Labour have come to power in 1997 the following Newport pubs have closed:
Carpenters Arms, High Street – closed – freehold for sale
Ale House, ex-Sovereign,
King William IV, Commercial St, closed – derelict building
Royal Exchange, became
Black Horse, formerly Celtic Bar/Falcon,
Old Rising Sun,
Pentwyn House, Bettws – closed
Chaplins, Caerleon, demolished, residential development
Three Salmons, Rogerstone, now an Indian Restaurant
Jolly Roger, Rogerstone, now an Indian restaurant
Globe, Rogerstone, closed awaiting change of use to residential permission
Seven Styles, was Lliswerry Hotel, closed and demolished, residential development
King, Somerton, closed, awaiting demolition, residential development
Black Horse, Somerton, closed, awaiting demolition, Tesco Extra
Roman Lodge Hotel,
Hereford Arms, Maindee, planning permission applied for residential apartments
38 pubs have closed in
1995 Wetherspoons, became John Wallace Linton
1999 Godfrey Morgan, Maindee
2002 Tom Toya Lewis,
Seven, was Yates Wine Lodge, converted from the Tredegar Arms, High Street
Walkabout, converted from the Queens Hotel
All the above apart from the Dragonfly are superpubs. Is there a connection here? If we believe the statistics the Government are pushing out then alcohol consumption is up – then is the reason - the superpub? Okay they can offer us exotic African bushmeat made to look like a steak, cheap drinks and cheap coffee but let us think of the true cost of these modern-day gin palaces. The places are so large that the management cannot keep on eye on what the customers are up to – selling illegal cigarettes, drinking too much, causing trouble, selling drugs etc, so that these places have to rely on bouncers, sorry security staff and CCTV to do the job. At weekends you won't even have a proper glass to be served out of and have to put up with plastic, sorry polycarbonate, as we now have to call them. Great idea, apart from the fact that the glass washers are designed for washing glass, not plastic, so these polycarbs become easily scratched on the inside and the resulting pint you are served takes on the appearance of something served from the sloptray. Oh and if you do want to glass someone, they still allow bottles over the bar or you can scold them by throwing hot coffee over them. But look on the bright side, if you are the victim of an attack at least it will be on CCTV and you can rest assured that it will feature on a staff training DVD for years to come.
Newport City Centre has always had the touch of the Wild West about it, it's exasperated now as on Friday and Saturday nights we now have uniformed marshals patrolling the town. Marshals! I did not think that anything could get lower down the food chain than a PCSO. What ever happened to the old days (well about 10 years ago) when uniformed police officers used to go into pubs at night? Some of them were even doing their job and not just collecting a large envelope of donations for the Gwent Police Widows and Orphans Fund.
Nowadays the police are to be seen in their cars and vans parked in strategic, well-hidden, places around the City Centre, just waiting for that moment when they can jump out, arrest someone and spend the rest of the night in the nice warm police station, drinking coffee, eating kebabs and doughnuts and colluding as they write their note books up together. Sorry, they call it doing paperwork.
It's coming up to Christmas, the season that really brings the nutters out. I for one will not be drinking in superpubs this year and if I do pop out for a drink I will be supporting real pubs. Samuel Smith's Brewery will definitely be doing well out me this Christmas. Seasons greetings and have a pint in the Murenger, the Haven in a Superpub Ghetto.
Join the Campaign to Save the Pub at: www.axethebeertax.com