As I run a pub this is extremely interesting reading, there is a hell of a lot of money still to be made in pubs however you have to be smart, location is everything, don't touch anything tied and believe me don't try and be a restaurant the food led market is highly saturated, there is a huge gap for drink led pubs and despite what people say the gp is far higher aslong as you have the right suppliers!
Pubs that make money these days are
- high street or affluent suburban
-have a good food offer for casual dinning however concentrate on there wet led trade
-run good events
-have a high level of customer serve/ well motivated team
-stand for something and stick to it, if you are a craft beer bar do not put in shitty sky sports you'll only attract scum
The smoking bad didn't kill pubs, bad publicans who didn't evolve killed their own pubs! A good pub will all of the above could easily clear half a mil bottom line a year.