If you ask the average person what they believe to be the most popular type of gathering spot in the UK, you’d most likely get the same response from just about everyone: the pub. But not so anymore, as legendary pubs close down left and right, to be replaced by coffee shops.
Yes, pub culture in the UK is on the decline, and coffee shop culture is on the rise. An average of 18 pubs close in Britain every week, the Campaign for Real Ale told the Guardian, largely because prices for alcohol are so high, people tend to drink at home these days, and because folks are looking to have a fun time without belligerent drunks all around them.
At the same time, the coffee shop market in the UK grew by 7.5 percent this year, and is currently a nearly $10 billion industry there. It’s grown nearly ten-fold since 1997, with nearly 16,000 coffee shops currently in operation in the UK. And nearly twice as many Britons visit coffee shops today than in 2009.
It doesn’t appear is if the trend will be tapering off any time soon; there’s so much competition between the big brands (Starbucks, Costa, and Caffè Nero), that experts estimate that in the next five years the number of coffee shops will continue to increase by 25 percent.