Pub revamps can be for the better

There has been much criticism in the press recently on the growth of the theme bars and Irish pubs as “soulless chain pubs”, claiming customers find the style and atmosphere disappointing. Much of this has been generated by the very recent publication of Alasdair Aird’s 1997 Good Pub Guide.

I would like to put the case that the marketing people have generally got it right (although there are exceptions). The theme pub is merely a branding opportunity and an exercise in market segmentation. It can be argued that the brewing industry has finally got it right and that it is starting to cater for the demands of an increasingly discerning audience at a time when the relaxation in licensing laws puts pressure on landlords and breweries to provide multi-functional venues rather than drinking houses.

The other point to note is that most of the conversions we are seeing are tired and dusty old pubs with very little business going on anyway. The breweries are not transforming successful full pubs and running-out the old clientele.

It can be good news and often is. I would like to look at some of the successful examples. More than 2m a day is being spent on capital investment in pubs throughout the country.

Edward Sullivan

Freelance drinks writer and pub reviewer for the Evening Standard

London SW10

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here