Is it? I have been in lots of pubs where the chat was thin on the ground. And while people might naturally expect to be listened to, sometimes rather too much, they certainly don't expect to be talked at, in my experience. And there is nothing sadder than two people in a pub, often a young couple as well, endlessly texting to everyone other than themselves, presumably. Whatever happened to living the moment? It's a weird kind of meta-existence that if i were a trained psychologist I would be very interested in exploring!
And I've been in lots of noisy pubs where people have had to shout to make themselves heard, so then you, and whoever you're with, have to raise your voices as well. Nightmare!
I agree about this strange absorption with mobile phones and texting, because I was in a restaurant a while ago when five young women (early 20's I'd say) came in and sat at a table next to me. They'd barely sat down when out came the mobiles and instead of chatting to each other started checking their texts and presumably responding to them. This went on intermittently throughout their entire meal, because they did at least take a break occasionally to put some food in their mouths!