British pub tradition in trouble?

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Dr. Johnson declared a tavern seat "the throne of human felicity." The Frenchman Hilaire Belloc, who spent his life in England, said: "When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves. For you will have lost the last of England."...

Some say the pub is in crisis. A few years ago, The Guardian reported that for the first time since the Norman Conquest fewer than half the villages of England have a pub. Chains of horrendous corporate-owned "vertical drinking establishments" — giant Identikit bars — threaten the real pubs, and the real pubs are mostly owned by equally horrendous "pubcos," companies invented to dodge laws against brewing monopolies. Yet somehow real ale, championed by Camra (the Campaign for Real Ale), and real pubs do survive.

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