Since March 20, London’s characterful boozers have been officially closed – although a good number have found ways to support their communities by transforming into off-licences and delis, while many others have pivoted to serving takeaway pints. But it’s fair to say we still miss drinking in London’s beloved pubs a great deal.
If things go to plan, we could be back down the London pub as early as July 4. However, Young’s – a pub group with 276 pubs in its fleet, a great many of which are in the capital – has just announced that it won’t be reopening with the rest of them in July, so long as the two-metre social distancing rules are in place.
Yesterday (Thursday June 4), Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis said that the group’s pubs would not fully reopen until August, when it hoped a one-metre distance would be in place for punters instead of the current advised two metres.
While larger Young’s pubs and ones with big beer gardens might still reopen in mid-July, the pub group said it was aiming for reopening on August 3. So it could be another two months until some of our old favourites spring back, including The Ship in Wandsworth, The Cutty Sark in Greenwich, The Duke of Clarence in Kensington, The Trinity Arms in Brixton and The Canonbury in, well, Canonbury.
It follows warnings from many within the industry that pubs won’t be able to reopen in July with social distancing in place, with the CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) Emma McClarkin telling Time Out that only around 30 percent of pubs in the UK would be able to reopen. ‘We’ve got different characteristics, different layouts, nooks and crannies, Grade II-listed buildings and other things that make it difficult for us to implement the two metres,’ she said.
When Young’s pubs do return, you can expect some changes, too. Sanitiser stations will be added to pubs and they’ll be championing their outdoor spaces and beer gardens. It’ll be another pub group encouraging punters to use a mobile app to read menus and to make orders and payments, and they will also be requesting that visitors pre-book their tables.
However, the Young’s Pubs chief exec has suggested that face masks would not be mandatory for staff, so that pubs would still be pub-like and ‘not operating theatres’. It’s a bit of a contrast to Wetherspoons’s incoming eye-goggle policy for when it reopens its pubs in July.
Gagging for a pint already? Check out where to pick up a takeaway pint in London this weekend.