The Pound Pub chain has opened its first establishment in Liverpool, with the people behind it defending the move and denying this will encourage binge-drinking.
Carrying the slogan “More Round for Your Pound”, the cut-price pub was launched at the former Cuffs on Wavertree High Street on Tuesday this week, offering pints of beer costing £1.50 – virtually or less than half the price of a typical pint in many city centre bars. Half pints, bottles and soft drinks are available for £1.
Liverpool’s Pound Pub is the fourth in the UK, but the first of its kind to open in a major city. Mike Wardell, Managing Director of the Pound Pub’s parent company, Here For You Hospitality, is optimistic that the local venture will be a successful one.
He told JMU Journalism: “We already operated a site in Wavertree and given the success of the three other Pound Pubs it seemed right open here. It’s a densely-populated area with are great mix of workers and students all looking for quality and value, good transport links and an excellent sense of community.
“You can buy alcohol cheaper in supermarkets but this is about reversing pub closures and getting people out and socialising at a price which allows them to do so.”
Bar manager Mike Dring told the Liverpool Echo on opening day: “There has been concern about us opening at 9am and customers coming in and getting battered on cheap beer, but we’ve had more media people in this morning than customers.
“We are not trying to encourage alcoholism or binge-drinking. It’s about people who might only have £10 being able to have a good night out. We know money is tight and people are on a budget and this is not a high-income area.”
Wavertree High Street and the Picton Road area have a high concentration of nearby bars, but none of the staff we spoke to at neighbouring pubs expressed any objections or concerns about the rival outlet with cheaper beverages.
The UK government last year imposed greater restrictions on the sale of cheap alcohol in supermarkets and the appearance of the Pound Pub has led to some concerns about the negative impact it may have on the community.
Julie Pennington, a social worker from St Helens who experienced the negative impacts drinking can have first-hand when she lost her husband as a result of his alcoholism, told JMU Journalism: “Having access to cheap alcohol will make it easier for some young people and adults to drink too much and be a contribution to them becoming an alcoholic.
“People drinking too much often leaves a trail of destruction, vandalism, fighting in the street and domestic violence. This can have a massive impact on the lives of the people around them, especially children, who witness domestic violence or experience it themselves.’’