After watching their energy bills skyrocket, pub owners have come up with a unique way to keep their costs down – they say it seems extreme, but customers love it.
The Mason Arms, in Cornwall, has opted for turning all their lights off and replacing them with candles – and they’re not alone.
And landlady Kate Chawner-Woods said along with lowering the pub’s energy costs, their candlelit evenings are drawing more punters in.
“It was really scary and we were so worried about how this winter was going to pan out – it’s a massive increase, our electricity bill isn’t much less than our rent now.”
Kate said it was a customer’s off-the-cuff comment that inspired candlelight Mondays.
Sy het gese: “I was moaning and cursing when I got the bill through when one of the locals turned around and told me to just turn the lights out, go back to the way it used to be.
“So that got me thinking and now we’ve gone back to using only candles on a Monday, like how it would have been when the pub opened in 1753.
“At 6pm we cut out all the lights – people really like it, we had 65 covers last Monday which is far more than we’d usually get on a Monday in October.
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“The atmosphere is great, everybody seems to like it – it’s romantic and people seem to talk to each other a lot more, it’s really lovely.”
While Kate says it’s too soon to say how much money they’re saving with the new scheme, she guesses their next bill will be four per cent less – even as we head into winter.
They’ve also changed all their lightbulbs to LED, cut down on fridge and freezers, and are not planning to use electric heaters in the winter months.
Kate gesê: “The warmth of the candles actually means we don’t need the heating as much.
“It was toasty in here last month, so if demand continues we want to do it on another weekday as well.”
Another pub, the Angel and Crown in South West Londen, has also opted for the candle scheme.
It’s lit by candlelight in the evenings, the lights are turned down during the day, and the fireplace is kept stoked so staff don’t have to turn the heating on.
Owner and manager Hannah Lawson said: “In some ways the candles have created a nice atmosphere, but customers have noticed that we haven’t been able to put the lights on.
The atmosphere is great, everybody seems to like it.
“We’ve seen a 25 per cent increase on our bills, so we’ve had to put all of our prices up unfortunately.”
Hannah said they had been forced to add at least 30p to their pints, and to up food prices, in order to keep their doors open.
Maar, on quiet nights they close early, and may look to change opening hours soon, ook.
Other publicans across the Verenigde Koninkryk have already made the tough call to keep their doors shut some weeknights to save money.
Hannah added: “I hope for everybody that pubs survive, because for some people it’s the only conversation they have that day. It’s not just going out for a pint, it’s so much more than that.
“I hope it blows over a lot quicker than we anticipate and we get back to normal.”
If you plan to try the candlelight scheme at home, be sure to follow the Fire Service’s advice.
Be sure to always put candles on a heat-resistant surface away from curtains and other materials and objects, never leave them burning unattended, and always make sure they’re out.
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