With restaurants able to reopen for outside dining only from 12 April, restaurants that have some outside space have announced that they will be taking advantage of the early opening date – with dine-in not permitted until 17 May at the earliest.
Restaurant group D&D London say it will be reopening a selection of its roof terraces, including at its Kings Cross-based German Gymnasium, Bluebird in Chelsea, Le Pont de la Tour in Shad Thames and Skylon on the Southbank.
Other London restaurants looking to reopen in mid April include Julie’s Restaurant and Bar in Holland Park, Sam’s Riverside in Hammersmith, and French restaurant La Poule au Pot in Belgravia. Its outdoor terrace will be open daily starting from 11.30am with outdoor heaters in place for chilly days, as well as parasols.
Claude Bosi’s Oyster Bar located beneath his two-Michelin starred restaurant in Chelsea will also reopen, as will MEATliquor’s Oxford Circus based restaurant, which says it has limited availability for its outside spaces but has opened its booking lines.
Many more central London restaurants are expected to reopen in April despite having no garden or terrace space with the return of the al fresco scheme to Westminster that allows venues to take advantage of road closures and turn them into outside dining spaces. There are around 3,700 pubs, restaurants and bars in the local authority area, and 560 of them were issued with pavement licences last year.
The City of London Corporation, meanwhile, will continue to issue pavement licences free of charge for 'suitable' premises until the end of September, allowing businesses whose six-month pavement license is about to expire to re-apply free of charge. It has received 58 applications since August last year, of which it has granted 40.
Stevie Parle’s pop up restaurant Joy at Portobello Dock is also looking to reopen with the al fresco restaurant having received numerous enquiries about April bookings. However, it says it is unsure as to whether it will be able to stay at the dock and that it has ‘put in a good offer’ to the landlord for a long lease but that another operator had seen the success of the pop up and had put in an offer for the site as well.
Pubs with beer gardens across the country are also expected to reopen on 12 April, with Young Pubs stating it is now taking booking for outside food and drink at its venues and Star Pubs and Bars saying it will be helping its licensees on how to prepare their beer gardens for the 12 April.
Daniel Farrow, publican at The Gatherers pub and restaurant in Norwich, says that the April opening date will bring cheer to those businesses able to capitalise on it. "The news of beer gardens reopening is a great victory for those with the space to trade outside and is going to be absolutely amazing for us here at The Gatherers."