Britain: No More Dead Afternoons

No More "Dead Afternoons"

"Time, please!" That call, issued in pubs throughout England and Wales every afternoon at 3 o'clock, Monday through Saturday, means that for the subsequent 2 1/2 hours the bars will be closed. Come October, however, the government will introduce a bill allowing pubs to remain open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. without the traditional break.

The legislation would sweep away a World War I law enacted to ensure that munitions workers remain on the job and sober. But the change remains controversial 15 years after it was first recommended by a government committee. Critics claim that longer drinking hours will...