Latte is the new lager, according to new research commissioned by Costa Coffee. The survey, conducted by market research agency Opinion Matters, revealed that coffee shops have overtaken pubs as the UK’s favourite social hang-out.

Of the people surveyed, 72% were said to prefer coffee shops to pubs for catching up with friends, and 85% chose coffee shops as their top spot to meet up for a chat. "It is quite clear that UK coffee shops have become an integral part of everyday life," commented John Derkach, managing director of Costa Coffee.

Jeffrey Young, MD of strategy consultancy firm Allegra said: "With more than 50% of the UK adult population using coffee shops at least once per month, and more than a quarter of consumers visiting at least once per week, coffee shops are now more mainstream than pubs. These outlets deliver comfortable ’third space’ environments, where consumers feel free to relax, socialise, eat, drink or just take some ’me time’."