Times, They Are A Changin'
All of Pretty Vegas are 34-35, so we are not that old (well, in our minds certainly!), but even we remember when we started, how there seemed to be live music of some sort always available near us. This could have been 2 guys with acoustics, guitarist / vocalist with backings or a full band, but pubs made a point of having it on regularly and as you knew when this would be, you could make a point of going down to the various acts playing the local circuits. Yeah, mostly, they were covers, but you didn't mind as the standard was usually pretty high, the pubs were packed, and the beer flowed.
Back then, the money was OKAY, but was topped up with free drinks from landlords happy with their establishments being packed to the gills, even on a Sunday night.
So what, exactly, has changed in such a relatively short space of time?
There is no doubt that people have less disposable income to go out for a night on the town. Prices have gone up, taxes have gone up, and supermartkets sell 24 cans for £12. Not really hard to see why there has been a general downturn in pub attendance just on these basic facts is it? I mean a lot of places will still have their "regulars" propping up the bar, but rarely are they being replaced by new customers who devote a night or two (or whole weekend) to one venue, and as such the landlords have to look at how to still shift pints without the additional costs involved. Food is okay to bring additional money in, but the landlords really need to go for that change in a big way, new kitchen, refurbishment, more staff, and this is expensive. So why pay for entertainment, when its not going to attract new customer, and reduce the profits for the ones they have.
People Want More For Their Money & Death of "The Local"
I don't really think its a stretch to appreciate that when times are tough, people want to get bang for their buck, so if they are buying food, do they want to eat in a nice, relaxed environment, where everything is clean and tidy, with a wide selection of dishes, or a place that "does food" as long as the darts team aren't at home.
The transition from pub to pub / restaurant is not generally a small step, and there is usually the alienation of the former clientele in favour of a new one, one with cash to spend on products with greater mark-ups, and the cost in doing to is usually VERY high. This means that in order to recoup the expense of this transformation, the only option is to maximise seating for the new aspect of the business. Don't get me wrong, some pubs HAVE successfully merged the two, but they are very much in the minority, and this has generally meant that what was the typical "Local" is either now looking very shabbier compared to the new swanky eateries, or have been closed and turned into gastro-pubs or brasseries. And the last two aren't typically looking for live music (unless you are a Mickey Bubbles tribute act at Christmas!)
The Infamous Wine Bars
FACT:- Men want young women => young women don't go to dives => men don't go to dives.