Worse still the closure of the last pub in the village can mean the local cricket, football or darts teams are left homeless, or with nowhere to go for that all important convivial post-match drink, then it can often mean the end of these teams as well.
The BBC’s Countryfile highlighted this issue last weekend, and also homed in on a rural success story, where the local community clubbed together and bought their pub, in order to save it from closure.
Now these success stories, where pubs have been rescued and brought back to life by people-power, have been quite common in recent years, but I hadn’t realised that pubs in other countries have also been under the same types of threat as here in the UK.
One story which caught my eye was that of Altenau; a small community in Upper Bavaria, where the inhabitants brought their closed pub back to life in 2014, after it had stood empty for more than 10 years.
When the building was put up for sale in the summer of 2012, the people of Altenau took action. They formed a co-operative, invested the necessary capital, and put in a massive 22,000 hours of voluntary work, over a two-year period, in order to restore the building.
Now, especially on Saturday evenings, the villagers come together for a few beers or glasses of wine, at the Altenauer Dorfwirt to enjoy the cooking of chef and landlord Florian Spiegelberger, helped by his wife Izabella, and the pub’s handful of employees. The menu is short but of a very high quality, with ingredients sourced from the local region wherever possible.
The re-opened pub has given Altenau a new lease of life. It can seat 70 but there are often over 100 people attending the monthly musical “Stammtisch". There is a beer garden outside, where guests can sit in the cooling shade of the old horse chestnut trees, whilst enjoying a beer and a chat, and visitors soon feel welcome.
I came across the story of the Altenauer Dorfwirt after following a link to the Bayern Tourismus website. Intrigued I decided to take a closer look and discovered that the pub was much larger than the impression given by the article.
For example there are four double and two single rooms, all with en-suite facilities; so if you fancy an over-night stay in this picturesque corner of southern Bavaria, you could do a lot worse than put up at the Altenauer Dorfwirt. Rooms can even be reserved through Booking.com.
If you don’t fancy driving, there is an hourly train service from Munich, changing at Murnau.