'We turned our kitchen into a karaoke room after our bills tripled' (2024)

As British pubs face a perfect storm of sky-high energy bills, competition from supermarkets, a decline in footfall and staff shortages, it's no surprise that they're looking at unique ways to keep costs down.

For many, this involves calling time on opening seven days a week, shortening their opening hours and saying goodbye to their kitchen in order to stay afloat.

The Nelson's Pub in Hackney has decided not to open its kitchen from Monday to Thursday due to low footfall, while the Windsor Castlein Finchley has reduced its Sunday hours and is considering reducing its Tuesday hours too.

Egil Johansen, who runs The Kenton in Hackney, eastLondon, told MailOnline he stopped serving food last year after his gas and electricity bills tripled.

'It's a huge cost serving food. Especially on a busy Sunday when you serve roasts, you need to have a lot of extra staff on,' he explained.

'We partnered up with a local pizza company called Yard Sale Pizza who deliver pizzas straight to the pub and rather than have the kitchen sit empty we converted it into a karaoke room.'

This has allowed the pub to generate income without having 'massive expenditures' running powerful kitchen equipment, Egil said.

The interior of The Kenton pub which is a traditional British boozer with a Norwegian twist

The Kenton pub in Hackney, east London, had to stop serving food in order to cut costs

Anchored microbrewery in Worthing (pictured)

The pub, which opens from 4pm most days, has had to navigate increasing costs from suppliers as well as maintaining a Victorian building.

Egil, who is originally from Norway, added: 'The landlord is putting the rent up ridiculously, so that's probably the biggest challenge for us right now.'

READ MORE:Time Gentleman please: Inside Britain's pub crisis as THIRTY boozers close every week to be sold to developers as 'isolated' punters 'die from boredom'

<!- - ad: https://mads.dailymail.co.uk/v8/it/news/none/article/other/mpu_factbox.html?id=mpu_factbox_1 - ->


When asked about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Egil said: 'It was a massive challenge for everybody, for businesses, you know. I took out £80,000 in total just to survive and I'm paying back those loans still today.

'Then we were hit with the energy crisis and it's a nationwide crisis, so people have less money to spend than before. It's not cheap to go to a pub anymore because we have to adjust our prices accordingly.

'We are coming to a point now where pints are between £6 and £7. I remember when I first opened it was about £3.50, it's doubled in 15 years but wages haven't doubled.'

Egil went on to say that recruiting staff has also been difficult since Brexit and mentioned how one employee had to move out of London after university because they couldn't find an affordable place to live.

'It's difficult because when you're asked what to do to cut costs, it's hard to think of ways to cut costs because we don't want to cut corners,' he added.

Rowena Smith, owner of the Old China Hand in Clerkenwell, hasn't had a kitchen for the last 15 years, after she said it became too stressful to operate.

'You make more money doing food,' she admitted, 'but to me it's not worth the stress.

'And we're surrounded by restaurants. If we were a remote pub in the country we'd have to do food but where we are there's so much competition, so we're just going to stick to supplying customers with good beer and wine.'

Rowena Smith, (pictured), owner of the Old China Hand in Clerkenwell, hasn't had a kitchen for the last 15 years, after she said it became too stressful to operate

An exterior of the Old China Hand pub in Clerkenwell which opens from Wednesday to Saturday

Egil Johansen, who runs The Kenton in Hackney, east London , told MailOnline he stopped serving food last year after his gas and electricity bills tripled

Rowena has taken several measures to keep her costs down, sometimes operating the bar on her own and opening from Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm only.

READ MORE:Britain's 'vanishing' pubs: How nearly 400 boozers have shut up shop in the first half of this year alone, with some regions hit harder than others... so how does YOURS fare?

<!- - ad: https://mads.dailymail.co.uk/v8/it/news/none/article/other/mpu_factbox.html?id=mpu_factbox_2 - ->


Years ago Rowena's pub was open seven days a week until 2am in the morning, but she said 'there's no business' on certain days anymore.

'I'll walk past all the pubs around us and I think what's the point of opening for six or 10 customers. I don't think I feel brave enough to add the other days on,' she said.

Figures from the BBPA revealed some 509 pubs shut for good in 2023, equating to a loss of 6,000 jobs - with 3,043 pubs going in the last six years. The UK total now stands at an estimated 45,306.

Alison Boutoille, 34, works with over 60 pub landlords in London, many of whom have had to adapt to survive, by changing their opening hours and closing on certain days of the week.

The French national launched CityStack two years ago with the aim of supporting independent pubs after the fallout of the Covid and the disproportionately large effect the pandemic had on the hospitality industry.

The initiative aims to help Londoners socialise within their budget and encourages people to visit pubs that are facing an unprecedented crisis due to staff shortages, skyrocketing energy costs, competition from supermarkets and declining footfall.

Alison Boutoille, 34, launched CityStack two years ago with the aim of supporting independent pubs after the fallout of the Covid

She said: 'There is a shift in the way people go out now. It's much more concentrated and people might go out less late than they used to before.

READ MORE:Britain's barren boozers: Pubs say cost of living crisis and huge rises in energy bills means they have had to scale back operations with some venues closing as early as 8pm

<!- - ad: https://mads.dailymail.co.uk/v8/it/news/none/article/other/mpu_factbox.html?id=mpu_factbox_3 - ->


'Since Brexit it has become really complicated to recruit staff and keep them, but also with inflation and the cost-of-living in London it's very hard to find someone to work and afford rent in the city.

'They (pubs) really struggle to keep people working with them and end up doing everything themselves leading to a shrink in opening times.

'The reason I love pubs and everybody loves pubs is because you want to connect people and it's a place to gather communities and having these closed increases loneliness in people.'

Alison went on to explain the shift in people choosing to drink at home over going to the pub because it's 'cheaper and more convenient'.

For example, a four-pack of beer will cost around £4 to £5 in a supermarket, whereas the average cost of a pint in the UK is £4.70 as of 2024.

And cost isn't the only factor effecting pubs, with less people returning to a fully office-based working environment, there are less employees going out for after-work drinks.

Nigel Watson, 67, who runs Anchored microbrewery in Worthing, said: 'I'm a specialist real ale and cider house so I've got a particular target audience and they're quite a loyal bunch of drinkers.

Nigel Watson, 67, who runs Anchored microbrewery in Worthing (pictured)

'The biggest cost is to my brewers, particularly electricity and raw materials which have gone up and as a result the price of beer goes up.

'But I think the biggest threat to pubs and breweries is supermarkets and corner shops selling booze at virtually nothing. They don't have the same overheads that we do in the pub industry.

'And it's a very unfair advantage they have and I think there should be control on that. A pub environment controls drinking of people. By law, you're not allowed to sell to someone who is drunk.'

Nigel went on to say that anti-social drinking has an effect on the town, saying it was a 'blight on the community and stops the older generation from coming into town'.

'We turned our kitchen into a karaoke room after our bills tripled' (2024)


How do karaoke rooms work? ›

The karaoke rooms in karaoke bars are frequently small, private rooms that can be reserved by the hour. They often have speakers, a karaoke machine, and a microphone. Despite being a relatively recent concept in the UK, karaoke has long been a popular source of entertainment in Japan.

Is karaoke a good second date? ›

Karaoke bars are great second date ideas because they are easy and fun, and there's not much planning involved. It's also a great way to find out whether you share the same taste in music.

Is karaoke good for a first date? ›

It's an active date, but still allows you to talk a lot. At karaoke you're dancing around, you're having fun, but you still have chances for quality conversations between songs. Plus the fun and exciting (and often comical) atmosphere provides plenty of conversation starters!

What are the rules for karaoke? ›

Karaoke Etiquette: 7 rules to stick by
  • It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Remember that this is not a competition. ...
  • Don't mic hog! ...
  • Don't force anyone to sing. ...
  • Never Boo anyone. ...
  • Don't stand infront of the monitor when someone is singing. ...
  • Don't Butcher the lyrics. ...
  • Equipment is not cheap.
Jan 6, 2019

Is karaoke a fun date? ›

It's a fun night out: Karaoke bars often have a lively atmosphere and great drinks, making it the perfect setting for a night out with your partner. You can grab a drink, sing a few songs, and enjoy each other's company in a relaxed and fun environment.

Do girls kiss on second date? ›

The second date can be great for the first kiss; however, any other date could be too! If you don't feel comfortable initiating a kiss, consider asking your date how they feel about it. In modern relationships, consent and comfort are important and attractive. Many people find this considerate and endearing.

Is it normal to kiss on the second date? ›

A dating website recently conducted a survey, and found that 45% of people say the second date is the perfect time to have the first kiss. 26% say the third date . . . and 15% say the first date. That said, 68% of singles say they'd be open to kissing someone on Date #1.

Do guys kiss on the first date? ›

No, and roughly half of first dates don't end in a kiss. Only about 53% of first dates actually end with a kiss. You should only kiss if it's what you both want. A guy who's truly interested in you will be happy to wait for your first kiss.

Does a girl kiss on first date? ›

Some people like to kiss and have sex on the first date to test their physical chemistry, while others prefer to wait until they know the person better. Ultimately, the best approach is to follow your own desires and to communicate with your date about their preferences. But it does have to be pulled off with panache.

What do you wear to a karaoke date? ›

General Apparel
  • Wear bright colors. A karaoke night is the perfect opportunity to wear all of your bright and colorful clothes. ...
  • Don't be afraid to show some skin. ...
  • Wear something that makes you feel powerful. ...
  • Wear something that makes you feel happy. ...
  • Choose a style that fits your personality. ...
  • Think about comfort.
Mar 25, 2022

What does v mean in karaoke? ›


One of the suppliers embed vocals which can be turned on and off by you at any time. These are shown by a (V) after the song title. As there might be a crossover where we have a song supplied by both providers we have marked (SF) to denote our other supplier as some customers have a preference.

Can anyone sing karaoke? ›

But everyone can do karaoke. Whether you're in front of a crowd at a bar or at a noraebang (a private karaoke room) with a handful of friends, figuring out your go-to karaoke song is key to having a good time with the least amount of self-consciousness.

Why can't I sing with karaoke? ›

You may not be able to sing well in that particular key. Occasionally, the karaoke track may not be in the same key as the original recorded song, particularly if the original singer is capable of singing in a rarified vocal range that most people can't get into with average voices.

Are karaoke rooms profitable? ›

The affordability of a Karaoke business makes it attractive to aspiring entrepreneurs. Low Overhead: Keeping your business costs in check is easier with a karaoke business. The overhead expenses are typically modest, allowing you to generate good profits with a reasonable investment.

Do you need a karaoke machine to do karaoke? ›

To get a seamless, straightforward home karaoke setup, all you really need is your computer, your mobile device, or a Smart TV– not to mention those sparkling vocal pipes of yours! With a high-quality karaoke streaming service like Singa, you can experience world-class karaoke without the heavy machinery.

What happens in Korean karaoke rooms? ›

These are tiny karaoke rooms that can barely fit two people, and you'll pay directly into the karaoke machine based on the number of songs you want to sing. There will be no extra time offered, sadly, but there are also no time limits, either, as long as you have coins you can input into the karaoke machine.

How do most karaoke machines work? ›

So your karaoke disc goes in the machine, sound comes out of the built in speakers and lyrics come up on the TV (sound also comes out of TV speakers if desired). Some machines also have the bonus of a built in screen, meaning they can be used completely stand alone and don't always need to be connected to a TV.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Last Updated:

Views: 6251

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Birthday: 1998-02-19

Address: 64841 Delmar Isle, North Wiley, OR 74073

Phone: +17844167847676

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: LARPing, Kitesurfing, Sewing, Digital arts, Sand art, Gardening, Dance

Introduction: My name is Amb. Frankie Simonis, I am a hilarious, enchanting, energetic, cooperative, innocent, cute, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.