What happened to British pubs?

Another link from Rob: What happened to British pubs asks Bill Bryson.

Bill Bryson, the bestselling travel writer, has lamented the decline of the traditional British pub, most of which, he says, have had classic old interiors ripped out and been turned into "run-of-the-mill bistros"

Bryson believes that pubs are at the heart of British national identity and he worries that 24-hour drinking laws, due to come into force in November, could put even more pressure on breweries to modernise old-fashioned drinking establishments and cash in on high-volume turnover.

Most overseas tourists visiting Britain want to visit a traditional pub, he says, but it is getting more difficult to find one. "I find it disappointing," he said. "Pubs are an important part of what makes Britain Britain.

"There are few traditional pubs in city centres any more. Now there are these giant sheds which have no appeal to me whatsoever. When I lived in the Yorkshire Dales, the local was like the village living room; it performed a vital social function. Now I live in Norfolk and there’s no local, which is sad."

Very interesting article. I think we see a bit of the opposite here in America: the resurgence (over the last 20 years) and proliferation of the brewpub, many of which have their own unique feel and signature.