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Last orders drunk in a quarter of German pubs

The Local · 8 Apr 2012, 18:33

Published: 08 Apr 2012 18:33 GMT+02:00

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The total number of places to sit and drink a beer in Germany sank from nearly 48,000 in 2001 to 36,000 in 2010.

The state of Hamburg lost 48.1 percent over that period and Lower Saxony lost 41.2 percent.

Berlin spectacularly bucked the trend, with the number of bars and pubs in Berlin nearly doubling with a 95.8 percent increase, while Baden-Württemberg also did better with a 15.3 percent rise.

Academics are warning that the social fabric on some particularly rural areas could be torn by the disappearance of the local pub.

“With the closure of the public house, an establishment with a high social and cultural worth is lost from the community,” said Florian Kohnle, cultural geographer at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt.

The figures show that around 500 Bavarian communities no longer have any kind of pub.

Story continues below…

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:02 April 8, 2012 by Englishted
This is really bad news,seems people can only talk into a mobile no longer face to face.
22:47 April 8, 2012 by Swag2TZ
This is terrible. Going down to the local gasthaus or stube, for a Pils and chit chat

with the locals was something to look forward too. What a shame. Like Goerge Thurogood said, " I Drink Alone" is now the norm.
00:39 April 9, 2012 by pepsionice
I spent around fifteen years in Germany and I'll offer these observations.

First, the plain truth is that most all pubs survived for the past five decades on a very meager amount of profit. It was typically enough to satisfy some older generation guy who ran this as a part-time job on the side, and he typically under-reported his profits by fifty percent (my personal opinion) to the Finanzamt.

Second, the smoking law episode really did have a chilling affect on most pubs. No one cared about the customer base of a typical pub.....laws were laws. In this case.....it really destroyed a fabric of every community.

Third and final....there's this youth group who used to go over to the pub (age 19/20) after work, have a beer or two, chat, and go home. Well...look around, one out of every ten (again, my humble numbers) of these guys....are going straight home and playing their video games. Toss in the fact that young ladies are now more demanding of their guy spend more time with them.....and I think that society is evolving in Germany today.
07:57 April 9, 2012 by ElbflorenzAmiExpat
Bring back the smoking ban, and the vast majority of us who don't go out any more because we don't want to incur all the nasty side effects of an evening of secondhand smoke will start going out again. Clubs will be jumping, and people will be drinking more. It's worked everywhere else in the world. German club owners are making a huge strategic error in pandering to the increasingly small minority of the population who still smoke.
09:39 April 9, 2012 by Enough
Also in the Hamburg area you have a large influx of Muslims who supposedly don't drink.
09:47 April 9, 2012 by bugger
@ElbflorenzAmiExpat "Bring back the smoking ban..." you do not live on this planet, do you? There _is_ a smoking ban in Germany, and it is enforced more than ever.

This is what destroyed the pubs. People drink their feierabend beer at home where they can smoke in peace.
10:28 April 9, 2012 by ElbflorenzAmiExpat
@bugger: I not only live on this planet, I live in Dresden and play music on a regular basis in pubs here. And suck up a lot of secondhand smoke. Not everywhere, but even in places where there's a theoretical smoking ban in place, the ashtrays come out either at 10, in which case I'm screwed, or as soon as the music stops, in which case instead of enjoying a couple of beers with my friends after a gig I'm hustling to get my rig packed and get out of there. Most places, though, unless they're serving meals, are completely filled with smoke, and most people, me included unless I've got a gig, are staying away.
12:34 April 9, 2012 by NiallSmith
The same thing is happening at home in Ireland.

Now, I don't know enough about Germany to speculate, (I'm not here long) so I won't, but I'll tell you a few of the major factors at home.

Laws; Smoking and drink driving legislation. Both of these put a hit on. Many rural local pub owners are now buying large 7 seaters and ferrying people to and from the pub.

Commercial pressure. In Ireland, every time a new supermarket wants to sell off license booze, it has to buy a pub license somewhere. (We don't issue new licenses often) So when said rural pub is maybe struggling or not making that much money, there's tesco's or whoever offering him €100,000 - €150,000 for his license.

Population distribution changes. Any 17 year old that goes off to college is likely to be gone for at least 10 years, possibly a LOT longer. Larger farms and lower manpower hours on land as there is more forestry etc push this further.

I've no idea how much of this applies to Germany but I'd be keen to know.
15:08 April 9, 2012 by Sunquest
In my humble opinion, the young generation are lost as a result of modern technology.

Think about that for a moment, not long time ago we had no social Networking, no mobile phones, no affordable fast Internet and most importantly no e-shopping.

Other factor is the stress and amount of work this technology caused, i'm not saying this bad but it causes the person to spend more time browsing due to huge amount of data available.
18:30 April 9, 2012 by willowsdad
If Antismokers (as opposed to nonsmokers) are the vast majority, there should be at least a few places pandering to them, nicht wahr? Not all pub owners are stupid, are they? At least one or two must realize there is a tsunami of potential customers who don't come in because they'll have to smell tobacco smoke, right?

Supermarkets have always been cheaper, but it's more fun to go out among others--until, of course, it becomes too much of a hassle. Then people stay home, or save up to go somewhere they have freedom.
19:49 April 9, 2012 by catjones
When I visit Chicago I'm amazed at the number of bars, the prices they charge and the number of people being served. Business is booming for many factors, but one that sets them apart from german pubs is that they cater to a younger clientele by offering a contemporary variety of drinks and bar foods. german bars are stuck in the 50s and they wonder why they're failing.......they're clientele is dying and there is nothing attractive to the new generation (
22:38 April 9, 2012 by MakiBerlin
"~Berlin spectacularly bucked the trend, with the number of bars and pubs in Berlin nearly doubling with a 95.8 percent increase.~". I wonder if that means pro-smoke charm of Berlin bars atracting even more cigarette loving tourists from all over the world. I've never heard unenforced cigarette smoke ban benefits tourism but, the world has been towered anti-smoke more & more, and if Berlin is the only pro-smoke capital among all those popular capitals on the earth, it makes sense. Younger legal drinking age also might be helping. No worry about the popularity of communications in social networks, Germany is getting more (smoking, drinking)people coming in :)
09:59 April 10, 2012 by jodessa
My guess is that most of the places shutting down are those hole in the wall, filled with gambling machines, and alcoholics, kinda joints. I don't miss those, but I guess the alcoholics need a safe place to go too....keeps them social. Problem is, Germans are just not as accustomed to invite people over to their place. That is still missing. House parties and hanging at friend's places...and hell, you can smoke there.
15:13 April 10, 2012 by franconia
Several Million Smokers stay away from Pubs now, that alone closed several thousand. Others close, because young people forgot to talk to each other over a Beer after work and the fear of DWI. Some have no money to spare at all.

@ elbflorenz, people sucked up second hand smoke since the 1700s and sat in Pubs elbow on elbow.There was no antismoking militants like you that changed the Pub scene forever.
17:43 April 10, 2012 by Joe Wutbürger
Personally I blame the rise in live pub music which is driving away the people who want to go there for a quiet drink and a chat in a nice sterile smoke-free area. Of course, we could have places where it is allowed and places where it isn't, so that people could choose for themselves where they want to go, but, naah, let's ban live music in ALL pubs!
00:48 April 11, 2012 by willowsdad
@MakiBerlin: I and many other smokers plan their vacations favoring places where we're welcomed and treated with respect over those where we're not. So, Berlin is on my list of places to spend my money and Munich no longer is.
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