Pub relying on British public's resolve ahead of reopening outside space
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
A landlord has said everyone is "gagging to get back to the pub to seek some sort of normality" ahead of its reopening on April 12.
The Fat Cat Brewery Tap on Lawson Road, Norwich, has spent thousands returfing outdoor areas and improving the space indoors and outdoors.
From Monday, along with hundreds of other pubs in England, it will be able to serve up to six people or two households outside, but owner Mark White said his business will stick to the rule of six to make sure people feel safe.
He said: "We are tremendously excited about reopening the pub. It has been a very long winter and a very sad state of affairs for the hospitality industry. It feels a bit like going back to school after a long summer holiday in that we are nervous but excited.
"Everyone is bored to the back teeth of what is going on. Everyone is looking forward to getting back to some sort of routine. There is nothing better than going to the pub for a pint. It is the definition of freedom. People will appreciate coming back."
Mr White said that since the original lockdown in March last year, the business has had to reinvent itself three times which has allowed his team to develop new ways of doing things at the pub, including table service, which have proved popular with customers and will continue.
But for this reopening, the Fat Cat Brewery Tap will not be putting up a marquee on the grassed area next to the pub.
"We are relying on the British public's resolve. If it is going to be a bit showery then bring a brolly. We are expecting it to be a nice sunny summer. Marquees are great but we want people to feel as normal as possible in the pub environment," he added.
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Mr White said his team has worked hard at building new benches, finding more space inside and outside the pub, which as a covered outside area, and upgrading the toilets and bar area inside.
He added: "It is amazing how much space you can find when you have to look for it."
The pub landlord said the pub was sticking rigidly to the new rules to make sure everyone stays safe as he did not want to see another lockdown.
He did not expect any problems from customers, but warned: "If people decide not to follow the rules they will be ejected and barred."
Mr White described the reopening situation as a balancing act in terms of keeping people safe and feeling as normal as possible and said the pandemic had affected people's mental health within the hospitality industry.
The landlord said, all being well, he hoped to reopen the pub for two households or groups of six to meet inside from May 16/17 and fully reopen on June 21, when it is hoped social restrictions are lifted.
"After that point we hope to throw away the Perspex and snog everyone," he added jokily.
The pub hopes to throw a large party this year to celebrate its 10th birthday in business - which should have happened last year.