Surge of customers back to Harrogate town centre as lockdown eases

Ready to welcome customers back outdoors -  Owner David Dresser outside Fashion House Bistro in Harrogate.Ready to welcome customers back outdoors -  Owner David Dresser outside Fashion House Bistro in Harrogate.
Ready to welcome customers back outdoors - Owner David Dresser outside Fashion House Bistro in Harrogate.
Harrogate town centre saw the highest footfall today in nearly four months as shops, beer gardens, hairdressers and gyms unlocked their doors as part of the latest phase of the roadmap out of lockdown.

There may not quite have been the same scenes as some other parts of the UK which experienced long queues outside shops as Covid rules were relaxed,

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But the reopening of shops, beer gardens, hairdressers and gyms here - and the bright sunshine - brought the public out in their hundreds around Cambridge Street, Oxford Street, James Street, Beulah Street, Commercial Street and Station Parade, in particular.

Music and film shop HMV opened its doors for the first time in Victoria Shopping Centre since last December, as did Waterstones book shop on James Street and Imagined Things bookshop in Westminster Arcade.

The brand landscaped beer and food garden at the front of The Yorkshire Hotel attracted complete with 'mini Brimham Rocks' and min steam railway quickly attracted a flood of customers.

Such was the demand for haircuts, people queued to get in at Banush Barber Shop on Station Parade as early as 8am while Headroom on Cheltenham Parade reported a two-week waiting list for bookings.

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North Yorkshire as a whole is now on Stage 2 of the government's #coronavirus roadmap.

All non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality, personal care and leisure centres, including gyms, can reopen.

But there are no changes to social contact so only households and support bubbles can meet indoors and the rule of six or two households can continue to meet outdoors.

Foreign holidays are still not allowed but overnight stays in self-contained accommodation is allowed for households and support bubbles only.

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For Harrogate's bars ands eateries, which have been closed for nearly 15 weeks, there is a lot at stake in today's reopening in stage two of the Government's roadmap - and traders are determined to make the most of the opportunity.

Fashion House Bistro only opened last summer in Harrogate but it’s already proven itself to be proactive to the demands of a challenging situation during Covid.

During the first easing of lockdown rules last summer, the bistro-bar-cafe on Swan Road cintroduced live music on Sundays and Thursdays.

Now its owner David Dresser has welcomed the relaxation of rules by reopening with a revamped breakfast menu, increased outdoor seating - and plenty of returning customers.

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Mr Dresser said: “We can’t wait to reopen the Fashion House Bistro, and when we do it’s going to be a very ‘happy Monday’ for us and our customers.

“The third lockdown has given us the time to look at our menus, in particular our breakfast offering.

“In addition to the traditional English breakfast, we have introduced a number of exciting new dishes.”

New on the Fashion House Bistro breakfast menu is American style butter milk pancakes, a full vegetarian breakfast, organic porridge, Huevos Rancheros, smashed avocado and ‘shakshuka, which is baked eggs, spinach and peppers in a spicy tomato sauce with feta, herbs and sourdough bread.

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Mr Dresser is a former fashion photographer, whose father ran a number of bars and pubs, in Yorkshire in the late 70s early 80s.

He said: “Opening a restaurant was something I’d been contemplating for many years, in fact, ever since a sixth form classmate at Granby High School suggested it.

“When I heard premises were empty on Swan Road, I came and viewed it and decided its location just across from the Valley Gardens, was perfect.”

Further information about Fashion House Bistro, and its offers, is available from its website,

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Harrogate independent bar Cold Bath Brewing Co says it is looking forward to welcoming back its loyal customers today safely under its brand new canopy covering its terrace outside on Kings Road.

The business hasn’t exactly been quiet during the latest lockdown - it also brews its own beers including a new IPA with Rakau hops which it recently released to buy online.

But. such is the demand for the real thing, the bar is now fully booked for today, as well as this Friday and Saturday, the 16th and 17th.

Cold Bath Brewing Co says it does have spare slots for the rest of April and May at the moment but even these are filling up fast.

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If you want to book a table, please call 07423386875 between 9am-5pm or direct message your request via its Facebook page.

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