Permission has been granted for another month of alfresco drinking and dining in Soho, Covent Garden, Chinatown and elsewhere. Outdoor service from central London restaurants and bars will continue for the month of October, despite the chillier climes.
The outdoor dining set-up was first established in central London in July to coincide with the reopening of hospitality venues, and it saw temporary licences for alfresco tables and chairs awarded to many restaurants and bars in Westminster, as well as multiple road closures to enable the area’s pedestrianisation. It was hoped to act as a lifeline for venues, allowing them to operate in the safety of the outdoors under social distancing.
Originally, the scheme was due to come to a close at the end of September, but applicable restaurants and bars across 59 of the area’s pedestrianised streets have now been given the green light from Westminster City Council to continue in this format until October 31, should they wish to do so.
It’s very good news for the area’s venues, recently hit with a 10pm curfew. This includes spots along previously popular late-night drinking and dining stretches on Old Compton Street – which has been almost as buzzing under new outdoor measures as it was in the Before Times – Greek Street and Gerrard Street.
In the announcement, council leader Rachael Robathan suggested that Christmas fairs and outdoor dining on pre-agreed dates and on certain streets could well be a possibility for the West End after the full-time outdoor dining scheme draws to a close at the end of October.
Time to dig out that winter jumper from the depths of your wardrobe and get back out there.
You can see a full list of street closures for outdoor dining here.
Plus, some Eat Out to Help Out deals will continue beyond the government scheme.