Public houses go well and truly public

Whitbread chain introduces a good way for backpackers to have a virtual night out on the tiles with their friends back in Oz

Selected pubs across London and the south-east of England that are part of the Whitbread chain are having Webcams installed so that pub shenanigans can be viewed over the Net.

The site, www.viewpub.com, provides live pictures of the action in chosen pubs from 6pm until closing time throughout the week. At The Fox in Putney, in south-west London, the idea has taken off with its largely Australian clientele using a Webcam to say hello to friends and family at home.

Watford's Hogwash has also embraced the notion, with regulars using the site to find out how busy the pub is before venturing out for the night.

If the experiment is successful, Webcams could be introduced in more than 1,000 Whitbread pubs throughout the UK -- not the best of news for those planning secret trysts or husbands trying to get away from their wives for the evening.

The experiment is also being carried out at the Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, the Tournament in Earl's Court, the Railway Tavern in Liverpool Street and the Hendon in Hendon.

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