Working out loud

Uncovering the UK’s Pub Culture: A Geospatial Look at Pubs

Pubs are a massive part of British culture. That’s almost an indisputable fact. A fact that was never clearer than in the last few years, when we were briefly unable to visit pubs in the pandemic.  

I wanted to see if the numbers support the UK’s relationships with pubs. What I mean is that I want to get the hang of geospatial analysis, and where better to start than pubs?  

I’ve been exploring Open Street maps data. One of the great things about this data is the scale of it. After downloading some specialized software, I can quickly create a map showing the location of all the pubs in the world:

Numbers and facts

I can then find how many pubs are in each country.

  • The UK has the highest number of pubs in the world, followed by Japan, Germany, Spain and the United States.
  • Per person, the UK has the 7th highest number of pubs. Slovakia, Hungary, and Ireland have more than 5 pubs per 10,000 people. In the UK there’s 3 pubs per 10,000 people.


Fun facts:

  • Let’s say you could never live further than a mile away from a pub. You’d be able to live in 37% of England, 5% of Scotland, 22% of Wales and 32% of Northern Ireland.
  • The most isolated pub in England is on the isles of Scilly, where your nearest pub is 28 miles away.
  • Oldham is a hotspot for pubs. There are 13 pubs in just under half a square mile.

Drawing Value

Can we put a value on this?

Culturally, maybe not, but economically we can.

As well as being able to build lists for emerging economy sectors, at the Data City we can analyse SIC sectors.

I talked to the team about using SIC to analyse pubs and I asked them how they’d define a pub. Three main keywords we came up with were “fire”, “pie”, and “beer garden”. We can then use The Data City’s platform to quickly subset the list of pubs and bars. In this example, if their website has all of the previously mentioned keywords, they will be in included in the list.

So, to conclude, there are few things more certain than the UK’s love of pubs (particularly Oldham, apparently). At The Data City we like our pubs with pies, fires and beer gardens. Thankfully, using our platform and being able to quickly filter for those words we can swiftly find suitable venues for a nice cold one. As well as being able to analyse emerging economy sectors, our platform is able to empower traditional SIC analysis.

Finally, a reminder that I did this to practice some geospatial analysis 😉 Although I’ve just begun charting my journey with GIS, across our team we have a lot of experience. You should get in touch if there are questions we can help with.

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