Delight as pubs enjoy successful first week back in business after lockdown

Landlords across the region raised a glass to a successful first week back in business as Covid restrictions eased.

Raising a glass to a successful first week at the Cock'N'Bull pub in Stourbridge is Tom Sidaway and Aurora Pettifer
Raising a glass to a successful first week at the Cock'N'Bull pub in Stourbridge is Tom Sidaway and Aurora Pettifer

A busy first weekend was reported with drinkers socialising in the sun after booking tables days in advance.

Tom Sidaway, manager at the Cock N Bull in Stourbridge's High Street, said outside seats had been booked up a week ahead of opening.

He said: "Our booking system went live two weeks ago when everything was confirmed that we were on track for the roadmap, within the first couple of days our weekends were full and it filled up backwards.

"We opened on Monday at 11am and people were coming in for drinks straight away. They were getting a hair cut then coming for a drink.

"We were doing takeaway throughout so I think we were in people's minds.

"We can get 68 people sat down, we're utilising the space as best we can. We built new tables and have covers and heaters and on the Sunday before we opened we were putting fresh tarmac down.

"The weekend was really nice weather, we were flat out from the minute we opened and we didn't stop until 11 at night when it got a little bit chilly.

"We served over 500 people throughout the weekend. Everyone was really well behaved, it was like they were on holiday, it was a good atmosphere.

"We always strive to get the nest experience for our guests. Everyone was happy."

And Ryan Hunt, chairman of Dudley & South Staffordshire Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), welcomed the "much-needed boost for local drinkers".

He said: "It was terrific to see local pubs and social clubs serving the local community over the past week.

"Sadly, it is not viable for all venues to reopen under the current restrictions due to lack of outdoor space but those which have resumed trading have followed government guidelines to the letter and brought a much-needed boost for local drinkers.

"We would urge punters to continue respecting the rules and congratulate publicans, breweries, and bar staff for adapting to a very challenging backdrop of restrictions."

Chris Southall, from Cannock Chase CAMRA, added: "Although the majority of pubs in our area remain closed until May 17 at the earliest, the ones that did reopen seemed to be busy.

"I was in the Newhall Arms in Cannock over the weekend and they said that over the week they had been busier than before lockdown."

But the managers at one pub had to change its opening hours the day after they reopened due to staff being sworn and shouted at by some of the customers.

The Barley Mow in Penn posted on Facebook saying: "Well yesterday was a bit crazy to say the least.

"The support you showed us on our first day back was incredible and we thank the vast majority of you for helping us out by sticking to the rules and being patient as we were incredibly busy.

"Unfortunately as with most things in life not everyone is helpful and we are sad to say our staff received plenty of verbal abuse.

"We have an amazing team of friendly hard working people and to know that they have been sworn at, sometimes shouted at for asking people to follow simple rules is not something we take lightly.

"We appreciate people have been locked down for a long time and are desperate for some release but we now feel we have to address this before it can happen again.

"We have decided to reevaluate our opening hours.

"Midweek we will be calling last orders at 9pm with everyone off site by 10pm.

"Weekends we will be serving no later than 8pm.

"Like last year if we reach capacity we will close our gates and only reservations will be allowed entry.

"Our kitchen will be open all day from 12pm - 7.30pm everyday midweek and 7pm weekends.

"It saddens us that we can’t open as we would have wished but we feel this is the best way to proceed.

"We will keep these opening hours until the 17th May when the current restrictions are due to be looked at."

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