Harrogate bars say they are 'excited' to reopen today in 'Super Saturday'

Harrogate's bars are putting their worries behind them today as they prepare to reopen for the first time in four months with a message to customers - "welcome back!"

Friday, 3rd July 2020, 5:17 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd July 2020, 5:24 pm
Ready to reopen - Co-owners Mick Wren and Roger Moxham of Cold Bath Brewery Co on Kings Road, Harrogate which is reopening today. (Picture Gerard Binks)

Popular institutions such as The Fat Badger, the Blues Bar, Three's A Crowd and Cold Bath Brewing Co say they do not know what to expect but they are looking forward to opening their doors for the first time since lockdown was announced.

But in a sign that different venues are interpreting the rules differently, some Harrogate bars will have advance booking and some won't.

Although Harrogate's hospitality sector is going to great lengths to follow Government guidelines, landlords are concentrating on making old friends back at home - while sticking to the new 1m+ social distancing rules.

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Simon Colgan, co-owner of the Blues Bar who also runs The Empress on the Stray pub, said he was more excited than nervous.

Mr Colgan said; "We are very excited about reopening, that it will be the next big step towards life returning to normal.

"During the lockdown we have been working hard to reduce our overheads so that we do not have to turnover what we did before to survive but i think the use of outside areas will be a big part in making sure we survive..if this had happened in the winter i think things would have been a lot worse.

"The relaxing of the 2m rule will mean that we will stand a chance to cover our costs.

"It will be down to us to make sure it all goes without a problem but lots of people have been contacting us to say how much they are looking forward to it."

The Harrogate bars who contacted the Harrogate Advertiser all said in advance of reopening they had been looking at lots of different way to make things as safe as possible for everyone, including table service, contactless payments and more.

Fears over public behaviour have grown after last month's scenes in the West Park strip of Harrogate when the police and enforcement officers from Harrogate Borough Council grew concerned after crowds gathered when a few bars opened for takeaways.

John Quinlan, the licensee of Three's A Crowd pub emphasised how important it was to create a 'safe environment' for customers.

But he said he was confident today would be a good day for Harrogate.

Mr Quinlan said: "We are really looking forward to opening and welcoming our guests back.

"All of our menus are on our website and we are looking in to ordering apps and tables reservations for both food and drinks.

"We have done our research on reduced capacity and turnover but we will need a return to normal footfall ASAP to continue our successful business to date."

Other bars opening their doors today include The Fat Badger on Cold Bath Road, which has installed protective screens at the bar, and Cold Bath Brewing Co on Kings Road which boasts ample outdoor space to allow for social distancing.

But Cold Bath Brewing Co said it had decided not to introduce advance bookings for its customers.

The team at this said: "We’ve decided not to go with a booking system, simply because we aren’t comfortable asking people to leave after a couple of hours, especially when they’ve spent their hard earned money with us.

"It goes without saying all the Government guidelines will be in place to operate the bar in the safest manner possible.

"The team are really looking forward to getting back to (near) normal."

Some bars in Harrogate are choosing to delay reopening until next week and it is worth checking with each bar in advance before venturing into the town centre.

Rich and Danni Park at the Little Ale House on Cheltenham Crescent say their popular independent craft ale micropub may not open for a week or two as they “figure out the safest approach going forward.”

The North Bar at Cheltenham Parade will reopen on Friday, July 10 but will offer outside seating only; booking will be optional and there will be table service.

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