‘More than Eat Out To Help Out’: Can’t get a pub slot? Hospitality reports ‘unbelievable’ booking numbers

Pubs in England can open outdoor areas from 12 April

Natasha Preskey
Monday 12 April 2021 19:41
East London pub welcomes customers outdoors as lockdown restrictions lift

Pubs and restaurants with beer gardens are permitted to reopen from Monday 12 April but many have been experiencing overwhelming demand ahead of the date as they are permitted to serve food and drink (outdoors) for the first time in 2021.

Many social media users have complained at being unable to book a table in their local area due to huge demand ahead of the reopening.

London’s largest beer garden, The Terrace Bar at Alexandra Palace, is already fully booked every day of the week commencing 12 April, and every weekend until 23 May, a spokesperson told The Independent

Pub chain Fuller’s told The Independent it has also already had a “high level of bookings” prior to the relaxation of Covid restrictions.  

A spokesperson for Fuller’s said: “We are certainly taking a high level of bookings – people clearly can’t wait to get back to the pub, which is great to see. We’ve invested heavily in our outside areas and now we just can’t wait to get our pubs open and welcome our customers back.”

Tapas restaurants El Gato Negro, which is in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, and Canto in Manchester have taken an “unbelievable” number of bookings, with its first week of alfresco dining being booked up within 24 hours.

Simon Shaw, the restaurants’ chef patron & creative director said: “It’s been unbelievable. The level of inquiries received has exceeded all expectations, with bookings significantly over and above that of which we saw during Eat Out To Help Out.” 

Adnams, a brewery, distiller and pub owner which owns a group of pubs and inns in East Anglia has had an unprecedented number of bookings since the government’s announcement, and all its accommodation is now fully booked up until the end of September.

Many Twitter users have complained of being unable to book a table for the reopening.

One tweeted: “The pain of knowing the pubs will be open in a month but you can’t even go as all the outside tables are already booked up everywhere.”

Another advised: “Get ya pub bookings in lads, Edinburgh is filling up fast in all the pubs from April 26th. Tons of boozers already fully booked into May.”

One person wrote: “Honestly dying at the fact basically all pubs are fully booked for the first weekend when everything is opened.”

From April 12, data permitting, venues in England will be allowed to serve food and drink in outdoor spaces and customers will not be forced to order a substantial meal with alcohol.

Unlike under previous restrictions, there will be no curfew, but the rule of six will be in place.

Indoor pubs and restaurants will open no earlier than 17 May in England.

In Scotland, venues can open outdoors until 10pm (with customers allowed to order alcohol) from 26 April. From the same date, customers can order food (but not alcohol) indoors until 8pm.  

From 17 May, venues can open until 10.30pm indoors and serve alcohol, and punters can also drink outside until 10pm (with people being allocated two-hour slots).

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