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Can traditional pub games save the Great Norwich pub?

The Leopard pub, Bull Close Road, Norwich.; Sarah Ladi; photo by Adrian Judd

The Leopard pub, Bull Close Road, Norwich.; Sarah Ladi; photo by Adrian Judd

Archant Norfolk 2011

Struggling pubs in Norwich and across the UK should re-introduce traditional pub games into their businesses, if they want to attract young adults, new research shows.

The Evening News through our Love your Local campaign and Pub of the Week weekly feature has been urging people to return to pubs in these difficult economic times.

As we have reported, many pubs have had to diversify to survive and have introduced new innovations and gimmicks to bring in the customers.

But new research suggests that half of young people aged 18 to 25 - only one in four of whom are now deemed regular pub-goers - are more likely to return to pubs if traditional pub games were brought back.

Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale, is now fighting to re-introduce traditional pub games, something that many Norwich pubs are already doing.

Most city pubs have either a pool or a darts team based at their premises, and understand that many young people choose their boozer partly because of the facilities available.

Sarah Ladi, landlady at the Leopard in Bull Close Road, has one pool team and two darts teams and also a cribbage board.

She said: “I think it’s a good campaign. Anything that is going to help pubs at this time is got to be good. We have free pool on Wednesday and Friday, and we’re quite lucky in having a big group of youngsters who come into the pub for that. We also have a cribbage board that we get out. I’m also trying to get a bar billiards table.”

The popularity of the card game cribbage is also growing in Norwich with the Anchor and Wensum Cribbage Leagues established for many years.

Keith Parkin plays for the Silver Fox, Taverham pub cribbage team, and also endorsed the campaign.

He said: “We have already had a couple of game against youngsters at a Tuckswood school. The average age in our league is very old, so we are encouraging more kids to learn the game. I learned the game from my grandfather.”

Cribbage is also played at the Boundary pub in Aylsham Road, and player Adam Cogan said: “It’s something to look forward to on a Thursday night. It’s a bit of a laugh and there’s a good mixture of young and old people who play the game.”

The research was announced at the Great British Beer Festival last week, and Camra’s campaign has been supported by World Darts Champions Adrian Lewis, who started off playing darts with his family in his local pub in Stoke, and Keith Deller.

The independently commissioned research highlighted that the numbers of regular pub-going young adults aged 18-24 years old has been on the decline over the last 5 years, seeing figures drop from 36pc in 2006 to 25pc in 2011.

In recent years many pubs have been dominated by gaming machines that customers have to pay for, leaving consumers with less disposable income to spend at the bar.

Colin Valentine, Camra national chairman, said: “Pubs have had it tough in recent years with high increases in beer tax, below cost pricing in supermarkets, introduction of the smoking ban, and of course Britain’s economic problems all playing a part in a disturbing 25 pubs closing every week.

“Our new research shows there is a worrying trend in younger adults visiting pubs less often. The research highlighted that one fun way of attracting 18 to 24-year-olds back into pubs could be to offer free traditional pub games.’

To see more stories from the Love your Local campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

For more details on pub games visit - www.tradgames.org.uk/features/pub-games.htm.



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