Bruton Knowles Hospitality, Leisure and Healthcare property specialist, Sam Spencer delves into the growing trend of micropubs and debates whether these unique establishments are here to stay.
A micropub is defined as a small free house with no frills and no food – just a tiny pub serving cask ales and a few pub snacks. The popularity of these miniature watering holes is growing with enterprising publicans seeing opportunity lying in small properties, some in less usual locations, with great conversion potential.
This is because, with micropubs, there is always potential for workable income as rents can be low, outgoings limited and craft beer fans are always enthusiastic about trying new and unique places.
There are now 2,000 micropubs across the country housed within a number of former shops and post offices. This is the highest number on record since the 1930s, with a sharp increase of 64% in the last four years alone .
But, are we seeing these micropubs close just as fast as they open?
Without careful research and a unique selling point, a micropub may not necessarily be the lucrative endeavour it appears on the surface.
At Bruton Knowles, our 12 offices have extensive experience working within the hospitality sector, helping pub owners with sale and purchase, valuation and leasing and strategy. We find owners don’t always fully research the full extent of initial investment required with any small start-up. Costs for licencing, business rates and insurance can quickly impact cashflow.
And finding just the right location at the right time can take fine judgement backed by excellent research. Many potential owners may think that larger cities are the best place to open a micropub given the high footfall and complementary neighbouring businesses. However, a lot of UK cities such as London, Leeds or Nottingham are seeing restaurants, pubs and bars opening (and closing) almost daily. Those left standing are the ones that have something different to offer.
So, it is no surprise that suburban residential areas offer a more welcoming economic environment welcoming for the micropubs.
Local communities are not only keen to see and visit exciting pubs opening on their doorstep, but as a local community, they want to support businesses that contribute to the vibrancy in their area.
So, is there still a thirst for micropubs? With lower rents, a love of quality craft beer and a community to claim it as its own, customers will always enjoy micropubs in suburban areas as it offers a real return to the local.