Saturday, October 8, 2016

Return of the Village Pub

In my village of 4,000 residents here in Hessen.....we have two restaurants and one pizza-pick-up operations.  One of the restaurants is an upscale Italian place where you go to sit down.....pay more-than-reasonable amount for a great dinner.  The other restaurant is an old fashion German spot in the middle of town, with a table or two for the old guys to play cards, and serve a decent dinner for a fair price.

A pub?  Well....no.

Up until six years ago in the old part of the village.....we did have a gast-haus with rooms to rent, a really good upscale German restaurant, and a real pub or bar.  It was all one single operation, in one of the oldest buildings in the village.

One day.....some pipe burst in this old building and kinda ruined the interior.  The boss or owner was kinda shocked when the renovation guy looked at everything and pronounced the cost. There are some rules about these older buildings, that you have to renovate or repair them with the character of the building staying the same.....which means 50-percent more costs than you'd anticipate.

So for roughly six years.....this building has sat.....non-functional.

Last month, two guys arrived and started renovation work.  Presently, I'd guess they are about eight months away from wrapping up this project.  My humble guess is that the owner found enough cash and willing workers to do the job.  Maybe by next summer, they will reopen the only bar in town.

So, you'd sit there and think about this.  A village of 4,000 people, and no bar?

This is one of the odd occurrences in Germany.  If you go back to the 1960s and 1970s.....most all German guys drank, and they'd have a beer or two after work.  Or after they came home and ate supper, they'd skip on down to the village pub and have a drink with the guys....maybe once a week....maybe two or three nights a week.

This habit in the 1990s began to go away.  You can go around to literally hundreds of villages in Germany and note that the common regular bars and gasthaus operations have downsized.  Part of this was a lessening nature of drinking.  Part of this goes to people having a particular preference for a certain type of beer, which might be the common types that get sold in a regular pub or bar.  Then you have this odd thing where guys made a room in their basement into a "lounge" with a big-screen TV and their buddies come over to drink and watch the soccer game there.

The profitability of this pub when it finally does reopen in my village?  With absolutely no competition, it's more or less a guaranteed thing to make profit.  But the question will be if guys will prefer to drink in their house and skip the local pub.

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