The Masons Arms pub in Southport. Photo by Neville Grundy

Blog by Neville Grundy, Southport and West Lancs CAMRA  

“After the feast, the reckoning,” as the old saying goes. This applies to most of us when the festive season is over and the bills begin to roll in. After the frantic partying of Christmas and New Year, it isn’t surprising that many of us might hope for a period of quiet to recharge both our energies and our bank accounts.

We are frequently urged to go dry for January, both by honest health professionals and by neo-prohibitionists whose real agenda is to persuade us to give up altogether. 

Whatever their motives, the strategy they suggest can be flawed. 

As an experienced drinker myself, I have noticed that some drinkers who abstain completely for a long period may, when they return to the pub, be inclined to go on a lengthy binge. This was obviously not the plan by those who urge us to abstain, whatever their reasons for doing so, but that’s what can happen if you portray alcohol as ‘forbidden fruit’ – it just becomes that much more tempting!

For our pubs, January is usually quiet after the festive partying, but such a slack period for them is often costly. 

Instead of totally cutting out all alcohol, you can try cutting down, enforced by taking a limited amount of cash with you to the pub and leaving credit and debit cards at home (it’s just too easy to keep on waving your plastic at the bar – until the bill comes in); just allowing yourself an occasional treat in the pub every couple of weeks as a reward for having stuck it out; or perhaps giving up simply for one week each month during the year, easier and more effective in the long term than lengthy total abstention. 

Not only that, you’ll still keep in touch with your friends, rather than cutting yourself from your social life for weeks, or even months, on end.

All of these approaches are more pub-friendly, and while pubs exist for the benefit of customers rather than the other way round, we cannot afford to take them for granted. 

Sadly, the sight of pubs boarded up, converted to other uses, or demolished for development, is more common than we’d like. 

Instead, let’s try to use them, if only occasionally, and there’ll be a better chance they’ll still be there when the 2024 Christmas parties begin.

► The national CAMRA website is at: The Southport & West Lancs Branch website is at

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Do you need advertising, PR or media support? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at:

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?