A LANDLORD of a popular Bridport pub has said he expects business to get 'tougher' as the cost-of-living crisis starts to take grip.

John and Geraldine Baker have been the landlords of the Ropemakers, in West Street for more than 15 years, but they have faced three major pressures as of late in the form of Brexit, the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis.

It follows research from real estate advisers Altus Group that revealed the total number of pubs dropped below 40,000 during the first half of 2022 - a fall of more than 7,000 compared with a decade ago.

Mr Baker said: "We seem to be coping quite well at the moment but we are expecting things to get tough.

"Our daytime trade is doing well and the quiz is still fully booked with a waiting list every week.

"The one area that is still down is the audience for live music.

"There still seems to be a feeling of nervousness about attending live music events.

"We thought that if Glastonbury was a success then this might change but there seems to have been quite a few Covid cases that have come from the festival.

"We're taking the view that we will continue to put events on and review the situation on an ongoing basis.

"Staffing is still an issue with shortages in good quality staff.

"In general the cost-of-living crisis is starting to have an effect but it's just an additional pressure on top of Covid and Brexit."

Pubs that have disappeared from communities have been demolished or converted into other buildings such as homes and offices, the research from the real estate advisers Altus Group says.

Ian Girling, Dorset Chamber chief executive, said: "Many businesses in Dorset’s hospitality sector showed admirable resilience to adapt and survive during the pandemic.

"Now they have been hit by a perfect storm of economic headwinds with the rising price of energy and goods, record high inflation, a tightening jobs market and a cost of living crisis which leaves customers with less discretionary spend.

"The pandemic and the weakening economic climate has accelerated structural changes in hospitality, especially in the pubs trade, with consumer habits changing and the cost of doing business ever increasing.

"It is always disappointing to see pubs close but there is still a major place for licensed premises as the lifeblood of many of Dorset’s towns and villages, and their economies.

"It is important that they retain the support of the communities they serve as well as breweries and the government.

"There are many entrepreneurial landlords and business owners running successful pubs, bars, restaurants and venues in Dorset which I hope can serve as inspiration for other outlets to survive and prosper with the right support."