Changes to drink-driving laws have had “a bigger impact than the smoking ban”, according to landlords in Dundee.
The new rules, which took effect on December 5, reduced the amount of alcohol allowed in blood from 80mg to 50mg.
David Glass, president of the Dundee Licensed Trade Association, and mine host at Doc Ferry’s, in Broughty Ferry, said the change has hit pubs across the city hard.
He said: “I think it’s bigger than the smoking ban because when that was introduced people could still come to the pub and have a drink. I’ve noticed a downturn in terms of like-for-like sales. Where people would have come in for a drink after work, they don’t any more.
“Even in night trade, where people have tended to come out later and later, they are now starting to come out earlier because they don’t know where they stand the next day.”
Mr Glass said he knew of around 10-15 customers who have stopped coming in for a daily tipple since the new limit was introduced.
“It may not sound like a lot but if you multiply that over a week that’s 50 pints,” he said.
“If you take that across all the pubs in Dundee that’s a lot of trade lost. I think places like golf clubs and gastropubs where you need to drive to them will be hit hardest.
“At a golf club for instance, where people might have had a pint when they came off the course, they just won’t do that any more.”
Mr Glass added that he had heard of pubs noticing a difference during the Christmas period, normally a busy time for pubs.
He added: “Although trade was still good for meals over Christmas, where they would have had a pint or two, or even a liqueur, they didn’t because they were scared to risk it.”
Major brewer and pub operator Greene King, which operates the Globe and Laings in the city centre and Fisherman’s Tavern in Broughty Ferry, announced this week that the change to drink-driving legislation had led to a 2% downturn in like-for-like sales over the Christmas period. Had the company excluded Scotland, sales would have been marginally up on the year before.