The amber nectar shall floweth once more across the Capital today as pubs and bars with outdoor spaces are allowed to open their doors to punters who have been chomping at the bit for that fresh pint.
Abiding by social distancing rules and government guidelines, business owners have been scrapping away in order to get their pubs Covid ready.
The Clermiston Inn is one such pub, where they have been implementing new ways of working from the introduction of apps for orders that are received on an iPad behind the till to installing screens above the bar for when indoor bars allowed to operate.
A gigantic wooden frame has also been erected in the beer garden to hold a large marquee and tables have been set out 2m apart to abide by government guidelines while several tables will also return to the front of the pub.
Ample sanitiser and disinfectant will be available to customers and disposable drinks lists will also be part of the new normal.
Bar staff have also been going through various Flow training programmes to ensure that they are up to date with Covid precautions.
Andrena Smith-Bowes, owner of the Discovery Group Ltd that includes several businesses as well as the Clermiston Inn and six other bars, said the firm spent nearly of £100,000 on renovations and PPE equipment.
She said: “For my managers and I, our staff members safety is paramount and we have taken every precaution, above and beyond, to ensure that they are safe when operating.
“As a business we have been losing thousands a week and the stock only has a certain shelf life so it has been testing.
“It has been an extremely troubling time from the announcement that we were to close immediately and the uncertainty that this caused; right the way through to today as we ensure our business is Covid ready. It has been reported that one in 10 pubs will not reopen in Scotland and many of my friends are included in that.”
She added: “We look forward to welcoming back our furloughed members of staff who are keen to get back to work as well as our regulars who were no doubt missed.
“The Clermiston Inn is at the heart of the community, and that is central to our ethos as a business.
“Covid therefore has been extremely difficult as we have lost loyal regulars that we have been unable to give a proper send off too.”A regular on what a scheme pub meansGary Farr, 53, from Clermiston, has lived in the scheme since the early 90’s and has been a constant in the community. A former teacher, Mr Farr now earns a living on the horses.
Having worked behind the bar himself as well as being a regular, and seeing his son attempt to follow in his footsteps, he outlines the importance of a scheme pub in a working class community and the vital role it can play.
He said: “A scheme pub provides a very important social hub to its local community. As well as providing somewhere for locals to socialise, the pub plays a huge part in identifying and maintaining the ethos of the locality. In the case of the Clermiston Inn that means welcoming, friendly and neighbourly.
“The Cleri provides local teams with somewhere to carry out their pastimes such as the ladies darts team and the pool team, it also gives a place to be fed and refreshed for the local amateur football teams after a match. Bingo nights and Quiz nights have been held on a regular basis for decades. Local bands and singers, old and new, are given a platform to perform on a regular basis.”
Gary, who enjoyed his time pulling pints and ‘haufs’ for the bar’s regulars, believes the Cleri offers a support network as well as a welcome space for those who need a break from the daily toils and tribulations.
He said: “Most importantly the Cleri is the hub of an excellent support network through its staff and regulars, tradesmen provide advice and services free of charge, arrangements are made to provide vehicles for events such as hospital appointments/meetings, shopping done, stories told, stories listened to, advice given, shoulders to cry on, friends to celebrate with and loans with 0 percent interest are only a very few of the services provided in a local.”
He continued: “Although we will be glad to have the pub opened it will come with a huge tint of sadness as two of the regulars were lost to coronavirus during the shutdown.
“The Cleri provides another important service and that is a place where we can grieve and celebrate lost loved ones. I am sure that the one of the first things the staff and regulars will do is to plan a memorial day for our two sadly missed friends.”
A young father on how the scheme pub welcomed him in
Despite being new to the area, it did not take Craig Sinclair, 27, long to settle in as a new pub regular, having spent a lot of time as a youngster visiting family who stayed in the area.
Following his move became a well known face in the Clermiston Inn and like many others was bereft when the lockdown forced it to close its doors.
The new dad and his partner Claire MacDonald, 25, bought their first home in Alan Breck and it was there that they had their first child – Ayla Sinclair who was born on May 2 of this year.
Craig said: “The Cleri is different to most modern day pubs as in the Cleri everyone knows each other, it’s the only boozer in the area and because of that it has a big community feel to it.
“After moving to Clermiston I began to visit Cleri which I hadn’t done much of in the past.
“I have been bumping into old mates who I haven’t seen in years just by chance. It has also been extremely handy it being on our doorstep – we even had the baby shower in the function suite prior to Covid-19.
“People might think it’s a bit bonkers to miss a pub as much as many of us are but during such a crazy time for everyone it’s going to be great when it reopens and we get to see everyone again. I also cannot wait to get my lips round a glass of Vitamin T of course – it’s been far too long.”
Craig – who feels at home in the neighbourhood added: “The pub has been so sorely missed to the community. I grew up in Cleri when my Granny was alive and of course because of that my Dad grew up here too. Claire’s mum’s side of the family lived here most of their lives so it definitely feels like home for us and you notice the loss of this institution.
“Everytime I go in to watch the football you are greeted by friendly faces and there is always someone you can get a game of darts or pool with – not to mention betting tips.
“To continue another generation in Clermiston is special – I cannot wait for the pub to reopen so we can wet the baby’s head.”
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