United Kingdom

COVID-19: Pints, parmos, and people – and with Jaegerbombs at 2pm, the British pub is back

The only guarantee on this roadmap is that there are no guarantees.

Who really knows how long this reopening will last?

The prime minister has said he’d like it to be “irreversible” but nobody can be certain.

So when venues are told they can reopen – and they are lucky enough to have outdoor space to do so – they grab the opportunity.

‘It’s just nice hearing people’s voices again,’ said one grateful pub-goer

At The Derry pub near Stockton-on-Tees they were desperate to just crack on after five months closed – it was just before bonfire night last November when they last had customers in.

“The sun is shining today the beer is flowing and we are back to it,” says Chris Driver, the excitable owner of The Derry.

Parmo - Stokton on Tees pub The Derry's speciality served on day back after lockdown
Within minutes of opening at midday the first orders for parmos were landing in the kitchen

He’d hit the gym at 6am to help contemplate the day ahead – the day he’d waited five months for.

“I couldn’t really get into the pool for a swim at the gym – it was too busy – but getting the pub back on today is huge… we need it.

“We are the centre of this community and it so special to reconnect.”

Within minutes of opening at midday the first orders for parmos were landing in the kitchen – it’s a local delicacy on Teesside – breaded chicken, smothered in béchamel sauce and plenty of melted cheese.

The kitchen team were fizzing with energy and enthusiasm. Outside, the bar staff were juggling the orders that were stacking up.

The four stages of England's lockdown lifting
The four stages of England’s lockdown lifting

By 2pm the first Jaegerbombs were being served in The Derry’s swish outdoor dining area.

By 6pm the after-work crowd were back in – blessed with spring sunshine and the novelty of togetherness.

“It’s just nice hearing people’s voices again,” Jude Cockayne tells us as she savours her gin and lemonade in an oversized glass.

“It’s so nice to be out. We’ve missed it – and you miss speaking to people properly.”

There were new haircuts to show off, and there was banter to resume.

In one of the converted sheds in the pub garden they were playfully arguing about who bought the last round in the autumn.

Hospitality is back and it’s making people smile.

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