'A breath of fresh air' - High Peak pubs reflect on first week back after lockdown
High Peak pub landlords have enjoyed a busy week since reopening their doors for outdoor service on April 12 and say it has been a ‘breath of fresh air’ to welcome customers back.
Buxton’s The Cheshire Cheese has a sun-trap beer garden at the rear of the pub on High Street and landlady Sarah Clarke says it has been great to see it so full.
She said: “Buxton has a good customer base and being a tourist town there have been new faces as well as regular ones coming in.
"We’ve been constantly busy and I’ve had to turn people away as we’ve been so full which is just what we need after months of closures.”
A gazebo has been put up to offer some shelter for customers should the weather change and Sarah said it has been a juggling act getting everyone sitting where they want to be which in recent days has been in the sunshine.
She said: “We’ve made some changes like we are closing earlier at 9 or 10pm as its still only April and not overly warm in the evenings when the sun goes down but people have come prepared with blankets.
"We’ve been so busy both on food and drink sales which is great as I think people have missed the normality of eating together again with friends and family.”
Over at Rems Bar in Chapel-en-le-Frith owner Gareth Jones said his first week back had been amazing.
He said: “People feel safer in pubs than they do in supermarkets at the moment and it’s really amazing to see our bar full again even if its only outside.
"People booked the day off when we reopened just to come out and spend the day with friends having a drink or two.
"It’s such a nice feeling to be open again it has been a breath of fresh air after the long lockdown.”
Rems, which is also a restaurant, will not be opening its inside dining until May and Gareth is excited to have his full team with him and get everyone off furlough.
All the staff across the High Peak are working hard and over at The Pride Of The Peaks in New Mills the staff clocked up more than 45 miles each in the three days the pub has been open since last Friday.
"I’m shattered,” said licensee Rochelle Hagan, “After months of not being a work it was a shock but a good one – I’ve love being back talking to people and catching up.”
The pub has invested in outdoor pods which were booked out all over the weekend.
She said: “I was really nervous about opening back up and whether people would want to sit outside in mid April but everyone has come out in force, had a good time, followed the rules and enjoyed themselves and I couldn’t ask for more than that.
"The seating pods have proved to be a really great success so I’m so glad we invested in them.”