Thesis: any settlement — a village, estate or neighbourhood — needs, at the very least, two pubs.
We’re deep into reading and research about the design and distribution of pubs in the mid-Twentieth Century — how did the authorities and breweries decide how many to put, where, if they bothered at all? (See here for some context.) Reading about estates with no pubs at all, or with one lost amid a domino rally of tower blocks, has got us thinking about how many pubs is enough.
Years ago, on a visit to North Wales, we were told a joke about why every town needs two churches: ‘There’s the one I go to, and the one I don’t.’
We reckon that same logic applies to pubs.
Idealists might say one pub, where everyone goes and gets along, laughing merrily as they debate the issues of the day, is fine. But, in practice, people fall out, get divorced, come to blows over the organisation of the Maypole committee, and so on, at which point they need another pub to strop off to.
People need to feel they have a choice — the opportunity to exercise personal preference (sometimes, that might even be about beer) and to choose their company.
Perhaps there’s another requirement implicit in that: the two pubs need to be different — not a strong point of pub building and management in the 1950s and 60s.