City beer gardens heaving as lockdown eases and Norwich City promoted
- Credit: Victoria Pertusa
Beer gardens were the place to be on Saturday afternoon in Norwich as friends met up to toast the first weekend since pubs reopened after lockdown.
The sunshine and news of Norwich City's promotion to the Premier League was a winning combination as people soaked up the sun with drinks in hand.
Among those sat outside at the Wig and Pen were friends Peter French, Emma Hamilton-Smith, Sally and Tim Jackson who were enjoying a meal and a few drinks before returning home to watch Norwich's promotion party fixture against Bournemouth afterwards.
Mr French said: "We only live around the corner so it is nice to be out again and supporting local business. That's what it is all about really."
Outside heaters were being used at the pub with a canopy set up for those sat at the spaced out tables.
Friends Philip Beck, Oliver Baldock, Darren Ward and Chris Harris were celebrating at their pre-booked table with a bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice.
Mr Ward said: "It's our first night out since restrictions eased so we will be heading out towards the Whalebone later. It feels more relaxed than the last time we came out of lockdown.
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"If it was socialising inside I would not be comfortable, but being out in the open air with plenty of space between tables feels fine."
On Norwich City's promotion success, Mr Ward added: "It's been easily the best season in my opinion, being top of the table for so long and never wavering."
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Elsewhere, friends Connor Russell and Gemma Bradford were queuing outside the Norwich Playhouse. Mr Russell said: "I am still a bit cautious, but I feel like everyone is just jumping on the hype to go for a drink in the nice weather."
Sat on a table near to the queue were friends Heather Newton and Anisha Patel who are on the University of East Anglia's MSc Physician Associate Studies course.
Both had been vaccinated and were happy to be out again, although they were afraid to leave their table at the risk of it being taken.
Just up the road were friends Matt Sheldon, Paul Engledow, Paul Hargrave and Matt Read enjoying a beer at St Andrews Brew House, the first time they had seen each other for over a year.
Mr Engledow, who was proudly wearing his Norwich City scarf, said: "It is a shame we could not be there for the game but I have shared loads of pictures on Facebook after our promotion was confirmed."
Sat outside The Garnet were friends Susanne Hoy, James Clark and Toni Lawrence who had decided to sit down for a spontaneous drink after walking into the city for the Debenhams sale.
They praised the pub staff for being very accommodating, and said it was nice to see people out again in a relaxed environment.
Sat around the corner were friends Marco Norman, Jordan Binks, Megan and Johnathan Keeley who were well wrapped up as they were sat in the shade.
Mr Norman said: "I think the pubs and bars should be given free pavement space to get more tables outside."
Customers had been queuing for up to an hour outside The Bell hotel including friends Joshua Bucciferro, Dan Shelley and Luke Bowers, who were enjoying a drink after shopping for a suit for Mr Shelley's upcoming wedding.
He said: "We've just come for a casual drink. Everyone seems to be cheery. We were in the queue for an hour after arriving at 11.30am but it was well run to be fair and I did not mind for a one off. It was worth it to reunite and sit with my mates in the sun."
Nearby were work colleagues Vicki Corney, Toni Cavell, Mark Thompson and Liz Grimes, who work as security officers in Norwich, and who had met up for a spontaneous drink after Mrs Corney had initially intended to go to Savers.
"It's lovely to have a little bit of normality," she said. "We bumped into each other and it's fantastic to enjoy a drink together for the first time in over a year."