Since 2008, nearly a quarter of pubs have closed – but York is bucking the trend

One of York’s newest pubs – the House of Trembling Madness on Lendal. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Pubs are disappearing at an alarming rate in the UK – but not in York.

Our city is bucking the national trend as the number of bars has increased.

These national and local trends are revealed in a report by the Office for National Statistics published on Monday (November 26). It found that more than 11,000 pubs have closed in the UK in the last decade – a fall of almost a quarter (23%).


That has seen the total drop from around 50,000 pubs in 2008 to around 39,000 pubs in 2018.

But the local story is different.

An extra 15

York’s only Viking bar Valhalla opened in 2017
York has more bars than most – and that number is increasing.

According to the ONS, in the City of York Council area there are around 9.1 pubs per 10,000 people.

This is 57% higher than the UK average of 5.8 pubs.

There are now around 15 more pubs in York than in 2001.

What’s happening to UK pubs

This interactive map from the ONS shows the percentage change in number of pubs by local authority between 2001 to 2018

The ONS states: “In York there are around 2,250 jobs in pubs and bars. This is 12.5% higher than in 2001.”

Why? This is what the report states:

  • The areas where pub numbers have held up – or even increased – include several popular tourist areas.


Most pubs in the UK are small, independently owned businesses – and it is mainly these kinds of pub that have closed over the last decade.

Nationally the total turnover of pubs has remained stable as fewer, bigger pubs do more business. And that trend also applies to the workforce.

There are now 6% more jobs in pubs and bars than there were in 2008. The largest increases have been in bigger pubs – those with 10 or more employees.