Container pub perks up ailing British pub scene

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As Great Britain emerged from the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8, pubs were closing at an alarming rate.

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In 2009, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) estimated that 52 British pubs were closing each week. But the 2012 arrival of Hall & Woodhouse in Portishead marked a turning point for the flagging industry.

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Located at Portishead Marina, the multi-storey pub and restaurant is made from 28 converted shipping containers, which once carried imports from China and Japan.

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The £2.4million development took ten months to build. Given the port town’s maritime industrial heritage, the building looks perfectly at home on the quayside. The interior of the downstairs bar is open and spacious.

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A private container dining room is suspended above the main area of the pub. Bright orange accents offset the grey of the shipping containers.

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In keeping with the maritime theme, the bar and wall shelving are made from raw unvarnished wood. The building also houses toilets and showers for the marina’s 250 berth holders.

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When the newly opened pub won the CAMRA Design Award for the Best Newbuild Pub in 2013, the award hadn’t been bestowed since 2006 due to a seven-year drought of worthy nominees.

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At a time when British pubs were still closing at a rate of 18 per week, the Hall & Woodhouse container pub breathed life back into the landscape. Hall & Woodhouse is a fifth-generation family brewery that started brewing in 1777 and now has more than 250 pubs.

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For a business whose reputation was built on being a traditional rural brewer, the Portishead outpost is remarkably modern – and the locals love it. Commonly known as the Box on the Docks, this popular pub won’t be closing down any time soon.