After spending the day at Wigan beer festival recently, I had about half an hour to kill before the last train home, so I decided to cross the road and go to the Berkeley on Wallgate. I strolled to the bar and waited while the barman wandered around collecting glasses. After a minute or two, he approached me.
"We've stopped serving," he said. It was about 10.40pm.
"You close before 11 o' clock?" I asked surprised, as the pub advertises that it's open until 11.00pm during the week.
"I went round and asked everyone and no one wanted any more, so I closed the bar."
I think I just said, "I see", and left. There's little point in doing anything else.
I wrote about early closing last August after a visit at 9.45pm to the Falstaff in Southport where I was told by the barman that the licensee wanted to close at 10.00pm, a full hour early. I walked out and haven't been back there since. Apart from the prospect of a slightly early finish and perhaps a small monetary saving, I don't see what is gained by closing early: if a shop or a café has only a few customers, they don't close early. Annoy customers who roll up later in the evening and the chances are they won't come back, and you'll then lose rather more than small amount of staff wages and electricity costs saved. I'm certain that the Falstaff has in relation to my custom alone.