Me and Pete popped down to the Green Man today to say hello to Mick. The Green Man, as I have said before, is a pub in its final days. Apparently the latest is that the Green Man will end it’s days in September. The site itself is on the market for around £1.5M, the site may even be worth something close to that.
The sad thing is that the business, even with the best operator, doesn’t justify that price. The pub is not in a great location for profit. The pub is in the best location for its locals, it has great footfall and could earn someone a living. It’s a great building and could be a fantastic venue, but it won’t make a millionaire. This is the trouble with the state of the licensed trade today, there is no allowance for purpose. There is no value associated with the characters and the community, no price on friendships.
For decades this pub has stood, it has made and broken landlords in its time. Children have been born and grown up here, lifestyles have been made and savings lost. How many wedding receptions, christenings and wakes have been held there? The sounds of children, adults and the elderly are embedded in the fabric of the building. First dates have flourished into love here, hearts have been broken to.
We maintain historic buildings and gardens but, as a nation, we put no value in the buildings that are such a feature in our lives. The thing I find most odd is that when I was younger and the licensed trade was doing well, we respected landlords. Today, with the trade on its knees there is little respect for what are the remaining guardians of our history.
Yes there are many that have fallen into the trade, enticed by PubCo deals and imaginary success. But there are many that work long hours to care for our cherished public houses. Only those of us that know the calling of the licensed trade will recognise it as just that, a calling. We could earn more and work less elsewhere but we love the trade and we love the fabric of our buildings. The hard times are weathered because for every year we keep the doors open we add a year to the rich history of the building.
Next time you visit a pub check the car, it’s not high end, check the landlord, he is the exhausted looking fella. You chose where to drink, they are wedded to offering you that choice. Go on, this weekend hug a publican