IN his essay describing the fictional yet idyllic “perfect” English pub, George Orwell doesn’t start with the beer, he starts with the atmosphere.

In his pub, the Moon Under Water, come winter the fires are always roaring, the garden is always inviting and the ambience always quiet enough to hold a conversation.

I wonder what he would say were he alive today.

The Great British pub is in decline, with 25 per cent closing their doors for good since 2001.

The cause? Take your pick.

It could be the impact of business rates or the 42 per cent rise in beer tax between 2008 and 2013 - a period in which beer sales fell by 24 per cent and 5,000 pubs closed.

Perhaps it is the fact that young people are consuming less alcohol on average, with 16 to 24-year-olds less likely to drink than any other age group.

Simon Williams, 49, agrees, from the pubs’ perspective, it is a sorry state of affairs

But he isn’t disheartened.

He has found a way to cash in on the trend, allowing drinkers to bring their favourite aspects of pub culture to their homes.

For prices as low as £300, you can buy a lovingly crafted, purpose built bar from his flourishing company WJ Home Bars.

Simon, from Colchester, has long harboured a desire to start his own business and was on the lookout for inspiration when he spotted a homemade bar on social media.

He thought “‘I could do that” and immediately set about building his first bar in his garage - much to the bemusement of his wife.

He said: “With pubs closing, prices high and the fact you can’t smoke in bars and clubs has led to a greater interest in this kind of thing.

“It is a shame to see the decline of pubs. The reality is people also feel a lot safer drinking at home.

“There is no drink driving home from the pub if people socialise at home.

“My wife laughed at the beginning when I built the first bar, no-one expected this.”

Five years on and business is booming.

Simon can expect to sell four or five purpose-built bars a day, with the company pulling in almost £1 million since its formation.

It makes about £250,000 per year in revenue.

Simon said: “Going out for a drink costs a fortune these days, you can go out and spend £100 without really trying too hard. Often you won’t even want to take your credit card for fear of checking the next day and realising how much you’ve spent.”

Figures show the number of nightclubs in the UK fell from 13,505 in 2008 to just 8,703 in 2018.

There is a reported £200 million reduction in the value of the country’s nightclub scene.

The younger generation is increasingly swapping “rave nights” for alternative entertainment.

Simon said: “I have so many stories and photos from our overjoyed home revellers drinking at home with the friends and families.

“It’s a safer, cheaper and warmer way to enjoy socialising.

“The first bar I made was put on eBay and someone from Maidstone bought it, so we drove down there to deliver it.

“I made another and sold that for £400. Now we make bars which can sell for up to £5,000.

“I’ve even done one for £19,000 for a village hall in Norwich.

“They came across our website and asked whether we could build a commercial bar.”

He now operates his business from an industrial unit in Clacton, with a large, well-equipped workshop pumping out thousands of home bars per year.

He said: “I took on a young lad part time, he very quickly became full time.

“I just couldn’t say no to anybody and it became more than I could handle.

“I didn’t have a clue about accounts, didn’t have an accountant back then and was doing it all myself.

“I have now employed my wife full time. Two years ago I made it a limited company.

“We are coming up to making £1 million since we started.

“We took a big leap when we got a big unit in Clacton – we now have an apprentice from Colchester Institute.

“I am extremely proud of what I have achieved.”

Simon isn’t just successful because he is riding the wave of a popular trend, he is successful because he demands a high standard.

He said: “I didn’t really have any experience with professional carpentry.

“I was always good at building stuff. I am a perfectionist, I won’t let it rest until I am satisfied.

“The first bar I built I nearly smashed it up a few times trying to get it right.

“If it’s not done perfectly it’s got to be done again.

“Now we are looking at building about four bars a day.

“We can knock them out very quickly and I work seven days a week “I am passionate about it, that is what drives it forward – the passion.

“We now deliver all over the UK and as far away as Spain and France.”

Satisfied customer Paul Dietz said: “It is a real centrepiece to any man or girl cave.”

In his 1947 essay, Orwell concludes: “If anyone knows of a pub that has draught stout, open fires, cheap meals, a garden, motherly barmaids and no radio, I should be glad to hear of it, even though its name were something as prosaic as the Red Lion or the Railway Arms.”

It was a different time.

Simon would argue you can find all of those things, and more, without even venturing out your front door.

While he might despair at the figures showing the decline of the British pub, perhaps Orwell would agree that the warmest atmosphere can be found in the comforting confines of one’s own home.

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