The number of bars and restaurants giving up their alcohol licences has risen by 13% over the past year.
Legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell said that 5,742 licences were surrendered over the last 12 months, up from 5,102 in the previous year. In 2008, just 2,830 licences were surrendered.
Sweet & Maxwell said the figures were a measure of the pain the restaurant, bar and pub sector has suffered from since the recession.
Separate research by accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy found that more than one bar or pub went bust each day in 2010.
Wilkins Kennedy explains that bars, restaurants and nightclubs are under intense competitive pressure from supermarkets and big pub chains. They are also suffering from the combined impact of the smoking ban, rising alcohol duties and shrinking disposable incomes.
Anthony Cork, restructuring & recovery director at Wilkins Kennedy, said: "These numbers show the extent to which the industry is struggling. Bars and restaurants are being squeezed from several directions and a growing number are being forced to close."
"Bars, pubs and nightclubs are being undercut by supermarket alcohol deals which encourage people to drink at home rather than go out. Supermarkets have also been heavily promoting dine at home meal deals, which has hit the restaurant trade."
"This comes on top of competition from large pub chains that are able to sell beer cheaper than smaller establishments can buy it from the breweries. Smaller, local pubs are losing their most price-sensitive customers like pensioners and students, which is impacting their daytime trade."
"To some extent, middle-class professionals have also had to cut down on entertainment as pay increases have lagged behind inflation, hitting their disposable income. With fewer people eating and drinking out, restaurants and pubs that were able to weather the smoking ban on the strength of their income from food are continuing to suffer."
By Neil Gerrard
E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs