The day all punters in England have been waiting for is finally approaching – and although most of us are itching to visit our favourite pubs as they reopen next Monday, we might find that our locals are looking a bit different than we remembered.
That’s because landlords in Salisbury have kept very busy during lockdown, transforming their beer gardens into stylish spaces with gazebos, pods and outdoor dining areas to allow as many people as possible to make the most of lockdown easing.
Below are just some of the venues in our city ready to show off their new and improved outside areas in time for the partial reopening of the high street on April 12.
If your pub isn’t on the list, or you know of a business with an exciting reopening plan, email email@example.com.
The Swan at Stoford
The new owners of this pub near Salisbury have used lockdown to repaint garden furniture, fence off the garden to create more outdoor seating and cover up the outside area to welcome customers whatever the weather.
By doing so, the number of available seats outside has more than trebled, going from around 30 to 100.
Landlady Wendi Wooller said: “It’s been non-stop, most of it is stuff which had to be done anyway as we only moved in last August but we’re finally getting there, I’m pretty pleased [with how it looks]. All it needs now is customers.”
The Winchester Gate
Owners Robb and Abi Blake have recently splashed out on a tent worth £70,000 after receiving £77,692 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
The roof of the tent can split in two meaning customers will be able to enjoy a drink come rain or shine.
Suzanne Molyneux Downs, General Manager at The Orchard in Amesbury, said they have also been doing works to get ready for the reopening including painting, gardening and cleaning.
“We’ve even had a new outside dining area built which come the 17th of May will have perspex windows and heaters,” she said.
The George & Dragon
Cocktails on draught and a refurbished garden are some of the features pub-goers can look forward to with The George & Dragon set to reopen next week.
Using the Covid-19 lockdowns to give the venue a complete makeover, visitors to the Castle Street watering hole can enjoy new decor, a new menu and new cocktails, which take around seven seconds to create.
One customer said joint landlords and brothers Nathan and Nick Lamb had “put their heart and soul into making the pub the best it could be”.
Old Ale House and Coffee House
This pub near the Cathedral is blessed with a large garden, three beach huts and a marquee.
Owner Shane O’Neill is raring to go.
He said: “We have been reviewing everything and making sure everything is in good shape, we have bought some new furniture for the garden to make sure everyone is as comfortable as possible.
“Salisbury is a beautiful place but it is also such a great community too and everybody is hugely positive and that’s so important.
“We want to welcome back as many people as possible, those who know Salisbury and perhaps lots of new visitors too.”
The Greyhound Inn
Visitors to The Greyhound Inn in Wilton will be able to enjoy brand new cosy pods for alfresco dining when the venue reopens next week.
Owners Graeme and Nikki McNulty completely revamped their open courtyard during lockdown, by adding five pods with heating and lighting.
Nikki says they wanted to recreate a “holiday feel” to allow people to enjoy a relaxing environment at their local pub.
The Lord Nelson Arms
Heated pods are also available at The Lord Nelson Arms in Winterslow.
Recently featured in the Journal’s Pub of the Week, the venue was praised for its “homely atmosphere” and its Covid-secure measures.
Landlord Ash Patel, who runs the site with wife Jasmin, said: “We created a safe environment through Covid-friendly external pods. We just wanted people to come and enjoy the pub.”
The Yew Tree Inn
This pub in Odstock has also created an outdoor heated space so customers can enjoy a pint or a homemade dish regardless of the weather.
Whilst operating outdoor-only, the pub will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
It will therefore reopen on Wednesday April 14.
Adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Radnor Arms in Nunton, also featured in Pub of the Week, introduced a separate entrance and exit system, as well as additional sheltered seating outside and socially distanced tables.
Landlady Louise Penny said: “We’ve used this time being closed as an opportunity to do the place up, we can’t wait to come back.”
The White Hart Pub
As well as tables outside, the owners of The White Hart Pub in Bishopstone have now built a roof over their pergola to accommodate customers in all weathers.
Punters can book a table from Tuesday April 13.
The Old Mill Hotel
The riverside garden at The Old Mill is ready for punters.
The venue has an outside bar and a Bertha barbecue oven which staff intend to make the most of “for as many days as the great British weather allows”.
Manager Tommy Roberts said: “We are more than excited. It has been a long year. We would ask our customers to be patient as we ask everyone to scan in and be served at table which will add to their experience.”
The Royal George
Voted one of our pubs of the week back in January, The Royal George will be welcoming residents on Monday, whatever the weather.
The garden has had a complete transformation in its preperation for reopening, and landlords Stephen West and Reece Brown cannot wait for the return of both their locals and new customers.
More undercover seating and heaters are just some of the additions guests can expect at this hostelry.
And music lovers can get ready for an upcoming torrent of live performances and entertainment, starting with Lea Martin on May 2.
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