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What to expect when Penarth pub gardens reopen on Monday

MANY pub owners in Penarth will be reopening their pub gardens on Monday, April 26, when coronavirus restrictions on outdoor hospitality ease in Wales. 

Pub-goers have waited months for this day, and now they will be allowed to have a pint outdoors as coronavirus rates drop. 

Hayley Clare, bar manager, and Stephen Newman, chairman, at Penarth Athletic Club said that they have been ‘busy’ setting up the outdoor pub garden ready for when they can welcome back customers and members on Monday. 

They will also be hosting a variety of local businesses to use their kitchen to cook food for those attending, such as Crepe Escape and Onzon Thai. 

Speaking about the past year, Ms Clare, who started working at the club in September of last year, said that they took the lockdowns as their opportunity to look at where they were, what they were doing and make some changes as there were some issues with parts of the building and they were granted the time to upgrade. 

Penarth Times: Hayley and StephenHayley and Stephen

The current Welsh Government law only allows hospitality to open outside, and the club has a big space of green land to make use of which can host around 130 people – but only two households per table. 

Marquees are also being installed to create some shelter in case the weather decides to change. 

Mr Newman has described the past year as ‘madness’, and that they’d never realised ‘how good a big garden’ they had until coronavirus regulations made them. 

“We’re lucky we have so much space here’, he added. 

Table service will be the only option upon customers returning, as to not have so many people crowding a particular space wanting to order food or drink. 

Penarth Times: The pub garden is being prepared for Monday The pub garden is being prepared for Monday

“Table service is ten times better than people going to the bar, and people like it,” added Mr Newman. 

“It’s a lot safer and lets us employ a lot more staff, as we’ve made more money from it.”

The club previously had one member of staff to help with the bar, now they have taken on 13. 

Before the pandemic, Mr Newman says the club’s turnover would have been around £150,000, but in the past year, from the success of their beer garden, that has turned into half a million. 

“We had two ways of looking at it – we could wait for things to happen, but instead we did something,” he said. 

When asked about the Christmas lockdown on December 20, Ms Clare said it ‘was needed’. 

At the end of November last year, the seven-day coronavirus rate for Wales was 232 cases per 100,000 people but that then shot up to 623 cases per 100,000 by mid-December. 

The Welsh Government took ‘unavoidable action’ to place Wales under Tier 4 restrictions and changed Christmas arrangements after receiving information about the spread of the variant in the country.

“You could see it coming”, added Ms Clare. 

“You almost don’t want to open when it’s like that anyway.”

Both say the Vale of Glamorgan Council have been ‘very good’ with providing grants to the club while they have been closed. 

“We’ve had regular grants and only had to chase now and then but that’s likely due to the number of businesses they’re providing for,” said Mr Newman. 

“It’s kept us afloat.”

Penarth Times: The benches were made by the rugby club members The benches were made by the rugby club members

Both say they can’t wait for Monday but know that it is going to be a busy week due to them already being fully booked. 

“It’s nice as we’ve been shut for such a long time. It’s going to go from dead, to mental!”

The Deck at Penarth marina will also be reopening on Monday their Jetty Bar and Balcony. 

They have also installed a new canopy that covers the balcony area, ready for any and all-weather changes. 

There is limited space for bookings, so to find out more head to www.thedeckpenarth.co.uk. 

Ben Coates, bar manager at Penarth Lawn Tennis Club, said everyone is ‘really excited’ to be opening their club grounds to members again. Penarth Times: Penarth Lawn Tennis Club pub garden. Picture taken before the pandemic. Penarth Lawn Tennis Club pub garden. Picture taken before the pandemic.  “We believe we have one of the best spaces in Penarth to offer members the opportunity to play and socialise,” he added. 

“We have spent time organising the club grounds, so they’re set up for maximum social distancing and have built a new outside bar to serve our members. 

“New members are welcome to the club and all information can be found on the clubs webpage: https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/PenarthLTC.”

On The Rocks owner Steve, based in Sully, said: “The last four months has been extremely difficult for all of us in this trade thats for sure, its long overdue that we can open all be it outside only!

Penarth Times: On The Rocks' pub garden area. Picture: On The RocksOn The Rocks’ pub garden area. Picture: On The Rocks

“We need to get back to some normality as soon as possible.

“On The Rocks will be serving our great milkshakes snacks and coffee along with alcoholic drinks too until we can use inside again the food being served will be from the Seashore Grill.

“We have a good outside space between the two restaurants with an amazing roof garden at the Seashore Grill also.”

For more information head to @ThePinkFloydBar on Facebook.

Welsh Government guidance says that ‘walk-ups’ should be kept to a minimum but if there is capacity and venue is allowing it, yes.

Where possible pre-booking is recommended for pubs across Wales, with the details of all members of a group taken as part of the booking and checked by staff on arrival.

Here are some other pub gardens that our readers recommended:

  • The Railway, Plymouth Road
  • Manor House, Sully Road
  • The Oystercatcher, Terra Nova Way
  • The Captain’s Wife, Beach Road, Sully
  • Pickford’s Galley & Bar with Rooms, The Esplanade

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