Drinkers across England are gearing up for the return of the great British pub next Monday – with some places so desperate to serve locals that they are opening up at one minute past midnight.
The Kentish Belle, a micropub in Bexley, South East
Other pubs have also been busy getting tents and marquees ready for April 12, while the chain Marston’s today reaffirmed plans to open around 700 beer gardens and other outdoor spaces next week as restrictions ease.
Pubs across England have been tweeting over the past few days about their plans for reopening outdoors next Monday
The Kentish Belle in Bexley, South East London, has been taking bookings for tables between 0.01am and 3am next Monday
From next week, amended Government rules will allow pubs and restaurants to reopen to serve customers in beer gardens or other outdoor serving areas – following months of complete shutdown for the sector.
Marston’s said it is opening about 70 per cent of its 1,000 managed and franchised pubs in England ‘on or around’ April 12 – and Scottish and Welsh pubs will open on April 26, subject to final confirmation from the authorities.
A week ago, the business revealed it had carried out work at around 300 pubs to ensure their outdoor serving areas are able to safely host guests.
The company’s operations director Ed Hancock said: ‘There is no one size fits all, we have to think about how the space will be used and most importantly what guests are looking for.
The Marquess of Anglesey pub in London’s Covent Garden is seen on March 25, as the hospitality industry prepares to reopen
The Flask pub in Highgate, North London, pictured last week , which is among those preparing to reopen its outdoor areas
A masked pedestrian walks past the closed Arnos Arms pub in Arnos Grove, North London, last week
‘Moving through 2021 and beyond, external spaces will become even more valuable and the industry needs to continue to provide a safe, comfortable environment for guests.’
Marston’s said the remainder of its managed estate in England should open with restricted indoor trading around May 17, as long as the Government sticks to its plans.
It comes just days after it was reported the majority of pubs may not reopen on April 12 because they do not have enough outside space to make it financially viable.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said while 75 per cent of UK pubs have a beer garden or outside space, only 40 per cent of venues enjoy one that is large enough.
Drinkers outside a pub in London’s Soho on October 17, 2020, the first day after the capital was put into Tier Two restrictions
The John Russell Fox in Andover, Hampshire, will be among the 394 Wetherspoon pubs to reopen beer gardens on April 12
Among the Wetherspoon pubs set to reopen outdoors next Monday is The Royal Enfield in Redditch, Worcestershire
Therefore, it estimates that only 17 per cent of pubs will welcome back customers and that limited capacity and unpredictable weather could leave many businesses struggling to break even.
‘This would result in a loss of turnover to the sector of £1.5bn when compared to trading in normal times. That is far from reopening and recovering,’ said Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA
‘Even if some pubs did try and open outdoors only in April, all it would take is some heavy rain and they would find it has all been for nothing.
‘For many pubs, gardens are at the back and the only way to access them is through the inside. And of course, toilet facilities would still need to be provided.
‘We question the government’s thinking behind this and suggest they consult with us as a sector on it.’
Britain’s BEST beer gardens! Top pubs for an outdoor pint are revealed – as landlords set up marquees and tents to keep al fresco drinkers warm when booze gets flowing again on Monday
Top ten UK beer gardens
- Ben Nevis Inn, Fort William
- The Drovers Inn, Loch Lomond
- The Square and Compass, Swanage
- Cottage Loaf, Llandudno
- The Drunken Duck Inn & Restaurant, Ambleside
- Fort Inn, Newquay
- Smugglers Inn, Weymouth
- The Angel at Burford, Cotswolds
- The White Eagle, Anglesey
- The Albert, Windemere
Britain’s best beer gardens were revealed today as thirsty drinkers licked their lips in anticipation of their first pint next Monday.
The Square and Compass in Swanage, Dorset, was named the best in England, and nearby in Weymouth, the Smugglers Inn was ranked seventh.
Frustratingly the to-reviewed watering hole in the UK is the Ben Nevis Inn in Fort William, which will not reopen yet, as per Scottish rules.
The Drunken Duck Inn in Ambleside, and The Albert in Windemere are also on the list for Lake District drinkers.
The top beer gardens were compiled by holidaycottages.co.uk and discovered by seeing which names were hunted for at key locations.
Shannon Keary, digital PR manager at the company, said: ‘It seems as a nation we’re all busy counting down to April 12 or 26, when we can finally see our friends and families and enjoy a drink in a beer garden.
‘In anticipation of this date, we wanted to see where the ten best beer gardens were located, hopefully helping people decide where they should go once the doors are open, and also where to visit on a staycation this year.
‘It’s also really great to see that independent bars, pubs, and restaurants are all featured in this list. We know that the hospitality industry has suffered in the past year, and it’s encouraging to see so many highly rated British independents on this list. We hopefully will encourage many people to visit and support them in April and beyond.’
The Square and Compass, Swanage, Dorset, which reopens Monday, has been ranked as England’s best beer garden
The Smugglers Inn in Weymouth, Dorset, boasts a beer garden with stunning views out into the sea
The Drunken Duck Inn and Restaurant in Ambleside offers rustic charm and beautiful Lake District scenery for drinkers
The Albert in Windemere is also among the top beer gardens and is a favourite among both locals and Lake District visitors
The Ben Nevis Inn in Fort William has a beer garden with flawless views of the Highlands and topped the UK’s best list
Cotswolds pub The Angel at Burford made the list and has a picturesque and peaceful walled garden for drinkers and diners
The Fort Inn in Newquay, Cornwall, has some of the best views in the country, overlooking beach and sea landscapes
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