And with the rain that battered the city for most of Monday, the grand reopening of inner hospitality couldn’t have come soon enough.
“I got a little sick of hypothermia every time I wanted a pint,” said Eric Sinnott, 60, laughing as he snuggled into the warm comfort of Briton’s Protection on Great Bridgewater Street. .
“I want to come in and be able to talk to the pub staff, talk to people again. “
It was a feeling that reverberated throughout the city from regulars returning to their old favorite boozers.
And for owners and landlords, there was a sense of relief that they could finally find a job they love.
Rachelle Stringer, owner of the Vine Inn on Kennedy Street, said: “An empty pub is a soulless place, so it’s really nice to have people inside. Pubs are really important places in people’s lives for a number of reasons.
“When the ads were closed, people lost touch, they lost that connection and that communication. I think everyone just wants to get back on their horse and get back to normal. I know yes.
Then there were those who went to some pretty extraordinary efforts to show their support for their favorite pub.
Take Colin Rutherford, 64, of Lisburn, Northern Ireland – who booked the first possible flight when regulations permitted Monday morning just to return to his favorite boozer, The Gray Horse on Portland Street.
Colin said, quite simply, that “this is the best pub in Manchester” and it was worth it.
“It’s the staff and it’s the people, it’s a real warm pub,” he beamed. “I couldn’t wait to come back. “
For Gray Horse owner Chris Taylor, it wasn’t the easiest decision to reopen – considering the pub is one of the smallest in town. It has capacity for just 30 people indoors under current social distancing regulations.
He says: “Before Covid you would have a hard time walking from side to side of the bar because it would be packed, but now we’re limited to 30. We can’t take reservations, it will be a deal. . to show up and try your luck until the rules change again. ”
Right next door, but one on Portland Street, The Circus Tavern, with equally tiny proportions, has yet to reopen.
At The Old Nags Head on Jackson’s Row, pub boss Sean Brett was delighted to reunite with his punters – and to show off the fruits of his labor over the past seven months.
He used the lockdown time to renovate the historic pub, including two huge event rooms with a new Manchester mural featuring music and cultural icons like Rowetta, Johnny Marr, Alan Turing and John Cooper Clarke, as well as a brand new roof terrace covered with fake grass and flowers.
Sean says: “The feedback is already very encouraging. We want to show that he’s not just some old beaten up boozer, there’s a lot going on here. “
The pub was packed at noon on Monday and Sean was delighted to see so many smiling faces. He said, “Everyone is just happy to be back, to see each other again and to be out of the rain. It’s just a return to normal. “
At the city’s oldest Irish pub, Mulligans, owner Padraig Brady was also showcasing a new renovation. Among the punters who savored a pint was Tim Flynn, who said: “A pub isn’t just a drink, it’s about community. Where else on earth could you meet characters like you do in the pub? “
The city’s oldest Wetherspoons, The Moon Under Water on Deansgate, was open from 7 a.m. with the first pints being poured at 9 a.m. As one of the biggest pubs in the whole region, he’s hoping for a big comeback in domestic hospitality this week.
It was a quiet start on Monday, but among those heading inland to start a day on the town were students Ronan Harrison, 21, and Carell Birchall-Kenyon, 20, both of Salford.
Ronan said: “It’s such a relief to be back inside, so we’ve got a whole day planned. We thought we were going to start here because it’s so big, then head to the North Quarter and later to watch a movie at Vue cinema. I think everyone is hoping this is the start of the return to normal life. ”