Pubs excited to welcome back customers after challenging year

The Walnut Tree in Weston

The Walnut Tree has added more tables to its garden to enable customers to sit outside. - Credit: Dean Whitehouse

Pubs with outdoor seating are looking forward to welcoming customers back from Monday.  

The Walnut Tree, in Winterstoke Road, has added eight tables to the pub garden to enable it to cater for more customers. 

Frank Sprackman, who took over the pub with his wife in January 2020, says it was a ‘rollercoaster start’ as the pub had to close almost three months later due to the first lockdown. But he praised his ‘great team’ who are now busy preparing for the long-awaited reopening. 

He said: “I’m excited to see all our lovely regulars once again and it would be amazing to start to see some new faces again like we were seeing in summer. We have worked hard on our garden to make it inviting for families and for people just to sit and enjoy with a soft drink and sandwich if they wish.” 

More: What rules will we have to follow when pubs reopen in April?

The inside of the pub will remain closed, due to Government guidelines, and customers will be signposted to the garden entrance. Visitors must wear face masks to use the toilets, and there will be a full table service, with a call buzzer to get attention from the staff.  

The pub’s full menu is also available to order on Just Eat, for customers who are not quite ready to venture out yet. 

Frank and his wife have five children, including Logan who was born during lockdown, and the couple is hoping people will support smaller, independent pubs that have struggled to survive over the past 12 months. 

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He said: “It would be nice for customers to support smaller independent pubs like myself rather than the big chains after the pandemic. 

“I took over the business with no financial debt or strain. But now I have the bounce back loan that I had to take on to financially support myself, my family and the business through the pandemic and have to pay that back over the next six years.  

“Although I’m confident the business will do well with the fantastic team, customers and all the hard work that’s gone into it. It’s of course never the position I thought I’d be in when I took on the business back in January 2020, just a year or so down the line.” 

The Bristol House, in Milton Road, will also be opening its pub garden for drinks on April 12. 

The pub will open from noon to 8pm on days when there is no rain forecast. However, the owners confirmed opening times could changes daily due to the weather. 

Customers are asked to check the pub’s Facebook page for updates, and tables will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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