Harrogate craft beer bars are ready to reopen

Two of Harrogate's most popular craft beer bars have spelt out how they will reopen and navigate a way through the challenges of social distancing for customers as lockdown is eased.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 25th June 2020, 2:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 2:42 pm
Toby Smith of Major Tom's Social said the bar on The Ginnel off Parliament Street in Harrogate was ready for the new world of social distancing.
Toby Smith of Major Tom's Social said the bar on The Ginnel off Parliament Street in Harrogate was ready for the new world of social distancing.

Both Major Tom's Social and Rooster's Taproom said they were delighted to be reopening but the safety of customers was paramount.

Toby Smith of Major Tom's Social said the bar on The Ginnel off Parliament Street in Harrogate was ready for the new world of social distancing.

Comments by Toby Smith of Major Tom's Social

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Ol and Tom Fozard of Rooster's brewery in Harrogate.

1. How do you feel about reopening on July 4?

"We are fairly confident we can be open for 4th July.

"We have had many conversations over the last couple of months on how we can change the layout of the bar and the style of service to help with social distancing, now it is all hands on deck to get all that sorted for the 4th.There will be plenty of admin and staff training to sort on top of that. It will be tight but we love a challenge.

2. What difference does the reducing of the 2m rule for social distancing to 1m make for Major Tom's?

"The relaxed 1 meter rule will make all the difference in our takings, it would of been pointless opening if the two metre rule remained in place.

"We will do our best to ensure a two metre distance but we will have the flexibility of reducing to one metre.

"We will have plenty of practices in place to ensure our customers and staff are as safe as can be."

3. How busy does your bar/business have to be to make reopening a success after this terrible year so far?

"Restaurants and bars run on tight margins so I would say we would have to be as busy as we can be with the current limitations in place."

4. Do you expect it to be reasonably easy to ensure customers don't accidentally get too close or gather in groups too close once you reopen?

"We are fairly lucky to have a good open space to work with so will be creating as much social distance as possible and have plenty of policies and practices in place to ensure customers don’t get too close to one another.

"I would also say that a certain responsibility will also be with the customers themselves. We also have a bit of a surprise in place which will help us further with our social distance situation. "

5. Are you considering introducing table service or asking customers to book a seat in advance or order drinks via an app?

"Although not confirmed as of yet but the majority of our trade will be table bookings.

"We will also have a table service app for customers and we will also be running our takeout pizza & beer service. Keep an eye on our website and socials for the latest details. "

Rooster's Taproom, Hornbeam Park, Harrogate

To help minimise any possible risk to staff and customers alike and to help the independent family firm plan and offer the best possible levels of service, going live next week, customers will be asked to reserve a table via www.roosters.co.uk/taproom-info prior to visiting the Taproom, which is located at the independent family firm's state-of-the-art brewery at Hornbeam Park.

Last year's expansion means Rooster’s Brewing Co is blessed with plenty of space and it feels confident of being able to open the Taproom with spacing between tables set at a minimum of two metres apart; offering a reassuring space for all guests to enjoy.

All furniture has been laid out accordingly and it’s imperative that no tables are moved from their designated spot and all chairs and benches remain at their allocated table.

By investing in the online table reservation technology, Roosters say they have factored in time to ensure that every table and chair/bench will be sanitised between one group of guests leaving and the next group arriving.

Comments by Rooster’s commercial manager Tom Fozard

1. What difference does the reducing of the 2m rule for social distancing to 1m make for Rooster's?

"It’s huge and will be the difference between some places being able to open, although still at limited capacity, versus not being able to open at all."

2. Do you expect it to be reasonably easy to ensure customers don't accidentally get too close or gather in groups too close once you reopen?

"Each venue will have to approach the guidance relative to their own space, while customers are likely going to have to play their part and adapt pretty quickly too, as there’s no saying how long social distancing will have to remain in place for.

"We’re very fortunate that we have a lot of space within our onsite Taproom, so will be able to open with everything distanced at two metres and will be making the most of our beer garden and event space above the main Taproom.

"To help minimise any possible risk to our team and customers alike and to help us plan and offer the best possible levels of service, customers will be asked to reserve a table via our website prior to visiting the Taproom, while table service will be the way we’ll be approaching drinks service."

3. How do you feel about reopening on July 4?

"We’re all really looking forward to the hospitality being able to open up again, but also recognise that everything needs to be done responsibly and with great care, so we’ll be doing all we can to help our customers.

"Social distancing is going to make for a very different experience for most places, especially those establishments that are smaller than others, but I think we’ll see some true innovation over the next few weeks as everyone does their best to give their business a fighting chance of surviving, while also making sure they’re offering their customers a safe environment to drink and dine."

Rooster's reopening plans also include a hand sanitiser station be situated at the entrance to the Taproom where guests will be asked to sanitise their hands upon arrival. Both doors leading in / out of the Taproom will be propped open, as well as all internal doors (where appropriate).

Other sanitiser stations will also be dotted around the Taproom, including by the doors to / from the restrooms. We also ask that common sense will prevail whereby if the restrooms are busy, customers wait outside until space becomes available to enter.

Dogs will be welcome but have to be kept under control and on a lead at all times, including in the Beer Garden.

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