How was the "new normal" pub/cafe experience for you?

ChiefPlanner

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I'm really not feeling positive at all about cinemas. They've pushed back all the major releases now until at least the Autumn.

Some cinemas that opened back on the 4th are cutting back (eg. the Odeon Norwich changed last week to only being open weekends). Most that had definite reopening dates sometime after the 4th are still closed and don't have a new reopening date.

Vue still haven't reopened any of their cinemas, or have any information on when they intend to reopen.

Cineworld are still claiming they are going to reopen next Friday, but it seems very likely to me they'll push that back again.

And most independents seem firmly closed with no plans to reopen.

As cinemas have been allowed to open since the 4th, their financial position must be increasingly precarious :(
Here in SAC - our magnificent "Odyssey" - an art deco joy is re-opening soon , fairly easy to socially distance as the seating arrangements are very generous - table seating and plenty of seat pitch for non table seats. Aligned to the equally excellent "Rex" in Berkhampstead , of course an independant of the very highest quality.

I just wish they would do a railway theme series of showings , - though I did enjoy "Brief Encounter" there last year on the big screen - with a large glass of red wine and their cheeseboard.
 
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talldave

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We made a family trip to Costa today as 4yr old has missed their chocolate brownies! Acres of perspex on counter with large tray width opening at the bottom, which you have to keep bending down to speak through because the staff member can't hear you through the perspex - so that's rendered pointless. The staff appeared frustrated by it and our non-mask wearing sympathy for their plight was rewarded with one free drink and one upsized for free drink! At least half the tables out of use. I just hope the silliness doesn't drag them down towards closure
 

Journeyman

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We made a family trip to Costa today as 4yr old has missed their chocolate brownies! Acres of perspex on counter with large tray width opening at the bottom, which you have to keep bending down to speak through because the staff member can't hear you through the perspex - so that's rendered pointless. The staff appeared frustrated by it and our non-mask wearing sympathy for their plight was rewarded with one free drink and one upsized for free drink! At least half the tables out of use. I just hope the silliness doesn't drag them down towards closure
My local Costa isn't *too* bad, although the tables are more spaced out than usual and my favourite fixed booth-style seats are taped off. They're using proper plates and crockery, which is far better than Caffe Nero using takeaway packaging.

Sitting in Costa with a coffee and a book is one of the things I've missed a lot. Being able to do it again makes life feel a lot better than you'd think it would.
 

Djgr

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My local Costa isn't *too* bad, although the tables are more spaced out than usual and my favourite fixed booth-style seats are taped off. They're using proper plates and crockery, which is far better than Caffe Nero using takeaway packaging.

Sitting in Costa with a coffee and a book is one of the things I've missed a lot. Being able to do it again makes life feel a lot better than you'd think it would.
I think independent coffee shops tend to be less "zombie apocalypse" than the chains.
 

Huntergreed

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Went out for a nice pub meal yesterday, one way system in place, staff wearing visors, but aside from that it was all quite nicely 'normal'.
 

Busaholic

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My local Costa isn't *too* bad, although the tables are more spaced out than usual and my favourite fixed booth-style seats are taped off. They're using proper plates and crockery, which is far better than Caffe Nero using takeaway packaging.

Sitting in Costa with a coffee and a book is one of the things I've missed a lot. Being able to do it again makes life feel a lot better than you'd think it would.
Just wish I could do it again. My local Costa unlikely to reopen apparently, and the one just out of town that does 'drive through' as well seems quite happy with the fewer staff/less hassle of not having people sitting down or using loos! Unfortunately, the independents in this part of the world rarely get it right, and don't survive long, poor service or costcutting in the quality of coffee being the usual reasons. I couldn't care less whether most of the pubs survive, as most are mediocre at best and I'm not a boozer anyway, but cafes/restaurants seem to have to jump through so many more hoops than they do.
 

talldave

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Apologies for being a little off topic, but when asked by my 4yr old to explain what the Costa drive through was all about, I casually, without thinking, replied that it's for lazy people who can't be bothered to get out their cars. Months later he still points to the cars in the drive through lane and shouts "there are the lazy people" in an embarrassingly loud voice! Serves me right I guess. We prefer to sit in, even with the proliferation of "out of use" signs on tables.
 

Journeyman

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Just wish I could do it again. My local Costa unlikely to reopen apparently, and the one just out of town that does 'drive through' as well seems quite happy with the fewer staff/less hassle of not having people sitting down or using loos! Unfortunately, the independents in this part of the world rarely get it right, and don't survive long, poor service or costcutting in the quality of coffee being the usual reasons. I couldn't care less whether most of the pubs survive, as most are mediocre at best and I'm not a boozer anyway, but cafes/restaurants seem to have to jump through so many more hoops than they do.
I know what you mean - I'm the sort of person who likes to do some of my work in cafes, as I find them less distracting than being at home, but where I am they're reopening very slowly. I think a lot of them are gone for good. :(
 

talldave

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I made a point of visiting a small local independent coffee shop as soon as they opened for takeaways to show support and let them know I'd be happy to sit at a table as soon as it's allowed provided they avoid the "chemical-spill" look & feel!

And my partner's favourite cake shop is doing takeaways served by anti-mask staff who are happy serve people with faces as well as those with just sad eyes..
 

MikeWM

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Here in SAC - our magnificent "Odyssey" - an art deco joy is re-opening soon , fairly easy to socially distance as the seating arrangements are very generous - table seating and plenty of seat pitch for non table seats. Aligned to the equally excellent "Rex" in Berkhampstead , of course an independant of the very highest quality.
Thanks for the tip - that's somewhere that seems to have passed me by somehow. Will look to make a visit at some point!

I have been to the Rex and agree it is a very nice place indeed. Does the owner still personally introduce each film?
 

High Dyke

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I've only come across one pub that hasn't put on any cask. Most good ones if they usually have a few, might have a few less to avoid them going off.
Got one cask ale at Grantham Railway Club. Members club, but card carrying Camra members welcomed. Admittedly we're still open limited hours currently, but starting to ramp up opening hours.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Thanks for the tip - that's somewhere that seems to have passed me by somehow. Will look to make a visit at some point!

I have been to the Rex and agree it is a very nice place indeed. Does the owner still personally introduce each film?
Cannot speak for the Rex , but the Odyssey has a personal introduction to the film by one of the staff. It really is a pleasure to go there.
 

initiation

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Although i've been to various pubs for just one or a half pint, had our first proper evening out in the pub last night (nearby village with some friends). Outside was not viable due to the weather - I guess those who are worried about sitting indoors will have to deal with it when winter approaches!

It was pretty busy by the end of the night, minimal restrictions which was great. Felt mostly normal.
 

johntea

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Went to spoons yesterday. No compulsion to fill out a T&T form, paid in the coin of the realm and had no problems
Same here, popped to the Lancaster Spoons on the way home last night and it was just a normal Spoons experience, felt much more welcoming (and ‘normal’) to just pop in when there isn’t a member of staff guarding the entrance!
 

steamybrian

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I have been to my local 'Spoons in the South East. No one at the door but there was a pile of "track and trace" forms to complete which it appeared no-one was bothering. The previous over generous amount of tables have been thinned out with some persex surrounded booths. As it was quiet I ordered at the cash till situated on the bar and was served immediately with my beer at the bar. No staff wearing masks and felt comfortable. I had to confirm with the staff that I thought they had made a mistake when Ruddles beer was advertised at £1.29 per pint but they confirmed correct. Made a contrast to nearby pub served by a mask wearing staff charging me £5.10p for the same beer.
 

Jamesrob637

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I have been to my local 'Spoons in the South East. No one at the door but there was a pile of "track and trace" forms to complete which it appeared no-one was bothering. The previous over generous amount of tables have been thinned out with some persex surrounded booths. As it was quiet I ordered at the cash till situated on the bar and was served immediately with my beer at the bar. No staff wearing masks and felt comfortable. I had to confirm with the staff that I thought they had made a mistake when Ruddles beer was advertised at £1.29 per pint but they confirmed correct. Made a contrast to nearby pub served by a mask wearing staff charging me £5.10p for the same beer.
No wonder people frequent Spoons if independents serve the same thing at four times the price! I did have an independent chippy tea last Monday instead of Spoons though - I don't regret my decision for a minute.
 

Bletchleyite

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No wonder people frequent Spoons if independents serve the same thing at four times the price! I did have an independent chippy tea last Monday instead of Spoons though - I don't regret my decision for a minute.
Chippies are a weird paradox. They look like nothing but serve one of the best foods that Britain has to offer at a low price. Mostly the more nondescript-looking the chippy, the better it is. You'll never get fish and chips as good at the poshest restaurant as at a scruffy chippy hidden away somewhere at the back of a rough Council estate.
 

Butts

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Chippies are a weird paradox. They look like nothing but serve one of the best foods that Britain has to offer at a low price. Mostly the more nondescript-looking the chippy, the better it is.
Whereas spoons Malts are as good as any, their Fish and Chips would be a "Brake Brothers or Booker Special"
 

Jamesrob637

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Tomorrow I will venture to my first UK pub since march. Will be during the day time so expect it to be quiet
That's the advantage of furlough for me. Obviously that won't last forever but it's been a (nice) novelty throughout July at least. Have fun, wherever you go.
 

Jamesrob637

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Chippies are a weird paradox. They look like nothing but serve one of the best foods that Britain has to offer at a low price. Mostly the more nondescript-looking the chippy, the better it is. You'll never get fish and chips as good at the poshest restaurant as at a scruffy chippy hidden away somewhere at the back of a rough Council estate.
This was almost opposite Spoons at Hillsborough - obviously no crowds at stadia for a while and the Championship finished last Wednesday anyway. So hardly a "back street" since the Supertram runs down it. But there's a lovely chippy near me which is on a back road - you pay every penny and the mongers are funny as.

Last Wednesday :D:D:D okay I'm grabbing my coat and running!
 

Jamiescott1

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That's the advantage of furlough for me. Obviously that won't last forever but it's been a (nice) novelty throughout July at least. Have fun, wherever you go.
Unfortunately I have not been on furlough. I've worked every day up until 3rd July. Now into 4th week of annual leave (first 3 weeks were abroad so hence not being in a UK pub)
 

MikeWM

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I'm really not feeling positive at all about cinemas. They've pushed back all the major releases now until at least the Autumn.

...
Cineworld are still claiming they are going to reopen next Friday, but it seems very likely to me they'll push that back again.
Well, looks like I was wrong about that, at least. Cineworld now have bookable schedules for their cinemas from Friday, so looks like they really are reopening. Picturehouse (owned by Cineworld) too.

Until/unless they and/or the Government mandate masking in cinema screens (which they're not doing yet, though they say they are 'encouraging' it - I think I'll manage to resist the encouragement, somehow), there won't be much reason for me to leave Ely for the forseeable, given I have a Cineworld 10 minutes walk away...

Still not at all confident how well cinemas are going to do without any big new releases to show for some months, though.
 

kermit

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Apologies for being a little off topic, but when asked by my 4yr old to explain what the Costa drive through was all about, I casually, without thinking, replied that it's for lazy people who can't be bothered to get out their cars. Months later he still points to the cars in the drive through lane and shouts "there are the lazy people" in an embarrassingly loud voice! Serves me right I guess. We prefer to sit in, even with the proliferation of "out of use" signs on tables.
Even further off topic, please don't shout at me Mods, maybe you'll enjoy the story....when I was 4 years old, one of the few records that my family owned was the soundtrack to the film "My Fair Lady", with Rex Harrison plucking Cockney Flower Girl Julie Andrews from the streets, giving her lessons in elocution and refinement, etc etc. .I listened to it whenever I was allowed. My grandfather was therefore somewhat embarrassed when he was carrying me on his shoulders along a crowded street, and I pointed at a random woman, shouting out "Look at her - A Prisoner of the Gutter!!"
 

Jamiescott1

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First visit to a pub in the uk today.
One pint in oneils. Encouraged to order via app- only carling or coors light on draft so just stayed for one. Sat in beer garden beer entered the pub.

Moved to my local when it opened at 4pm.
Had to write name and contact number in book. Bar stools removed from around bar.
14 beers and cider on draft (usually 20) amd table service (which is usually offered anyway)
 

yorkie

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I met @ainsworth74 @Big Tim @yorksrob @Merseysider and @D365 in York today; our first pub was the York Tap which has reopened. It was surprisingly busy for not yet 5pm on a Tuesday, which was encouraging. Still plenty of room though. When entering you are assigned a table. Table service is then provided.

The second pub had separate entrances and exits, and menus were done online, but other than that it was a pretty much normal experience. Orders were placed at the bar. We ate outside. I'd definitely go back there. The track & trace was done by means of a QR code but you are not forced to do this.

The final pub is one we've visited before; this was the opposite of the first and had exclusively table service. @yorksrob confused the first waitress (who was only 17) with a complex beer request, but other than that, the visit went smoothly. We were able to get a room to ourselves which was ideal. The track & trace is done by email but again no-one forces you to do this. In our case, we didn't go near any other customers anyway as we had our own room.

In all cases hand sanitiser was readily available as you enter the pub.

We also did a walk along the City Walls to get between the second and third pubs, which had a one-way system in place, and was again a very pleasant experience; not many tourists around. If anyone is thinking of visiting York, now is the time as many places and attractions are open and it's not overcrowded as it can be at this time of year.

We have more forum meet ups planned and I'd definitely encourage anyone who is interested to join us (please do get in touch); the experiences have been good and everyone seems to be acting sensibly; if anyone is currently put off going to pubs I would encourage you to reconsider!
 

VauxhallandI

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No entry to the pub, limited hours and beer sold out of a window. There were two converted garages opposite you could sit in. As the weather was fine we just sat on the benches overlooking the sea. Food can be ordered and collected, very nice it was too.

Southwold - The Sole Bay Inn

One way in, one way out. No names, could sit in but we sat outside

Aldeburgh - The Mill Inn

One at in, one way out. Name at the door once but not the other time. Can sit in but again better to buy and take over to the boating pond and sea front.

Kings Head - Orford

Didn’t go in, all done via QR code. Online order for food and drinks brought out.

NB Adnams are only brewing Bitter, Ghost Ship and Broadside at present.
 

Cowley

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Not quite a cafe experience, but I’ve always frequented a very nice little sandwich/pasty shop in Crediton that do excellent filled rolls and are very cheap (I mean we’re talking a sub, homemade cake and drink for about a four pound fifty here. Crediton is truly stuck in about 1997...).

Yesterday morning I found myself outside at five to eight thinking that I’d get myself a little breakfast treat and a coffee (for the first time in months). A young (by my standards) lad was queuing outside checking his watch and when they opened ten minutes later he hurried inside.
So I put my mask on and waited outside in the rain behind another chap (only one person allowed in at a time of course).
Fifteen minutes later I was still standing there and rather than someone coming outside to take orders, through the window I observed one person serving the lad while another three members of staff stood there chatting to each other.

So I then got back into the car and drove off empty handed and soaking wet after wasting the best part of half an hour waiting around for basically a pasty (which I could tantalisingly see through the window) and a coffee which I could have easily had at home.

I would like to support local businesses but they’re going to need to find a new way of working if they’re going to survive this because life’s too short when you’re pushed for time to put up with this kind of madness.
 

Journeyman

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Indeed. No restaurant, however posh, does it better than an actual chippy. I wonder if any other country's national dish is like that, where the best form of it is one obtained relatively cheaply in a definitely-not-classy establishment?

It's the same for a fry-up - the best ones are obtained from ramshackle greasy transport cafes, though there are increasingly few of them.
Generally I'd agree there, but just about the best cooked breakfast I've ever had was on The Enterprise train from Dublin to Belfast. Do it. You won't regret it. :)
 

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