The City of London financial district, one of the world’s leading business hubs, has lost one in seven of its bars and restaurants since the pandemic, according to research published Monday.
The City’s loss of pubs, bars, restaurants and other licensed premises since March 2020 is steeper than across the entire British capital, where there has been a 10-percent decline, the study by CGA and AlixPartners found.
The pandemic-fuelled switch to more working from home and other flexible work arrangements is blamed for the trend, with some London residential areas registering far fewer closures as remote workers utilise premises there.
“In these areas, people who previously commuted into central London instead worked at home… and increasingly used their local pubs, bars and restaurants rather than travelling further afield,” the research noted.
It found that the number of such closures in the City — which is known as the Square Mile, due to its size — were higher than in the business districts of other major UK cities, such as Manchester or Edinburgh.
“The City of London’s hospitality market was hit harder than most city-centres by COVID-19, with lockdowns and restrictions limiting commuting and tourism initially,” Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, said.
“However, shifts in working patterns are going to be permanent for many, and this has led to a sustained impact on the centre of the capital.”
Chessell added that it was “not all doom and gloom, with other parts of London proving more resilient”.
A recent study by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) found average attendance in offices is just 26 percent, with peaks in the middle of the week of no more than a third of employees.
“Hybrid working appears to be here to stay,” it concluded.