LOCALS pining for a pint have flooded back to pubs as restrictions are lifted.
The Rosemount Hotel’s manager Calvin Hook says it’s been heartening to see people pour back in post-lockdown.
When the hotel had a very partial reopening mid-May with a 20 person limit, he says “we were overwhelmed with the response from the local community.
“Every session for two weeks was booked out. We had about 300 emails in the first 24 hours from people asking if there was a table.
“We had to bring staff back just to manage the inbox and confirm bookings.”
The 20 person limit wasn’t profitable for a venue that can hold more than 800 across its different areas, but he says they still wanted to keep the doors open.
“It’s not a profitable exercise,” he says, but it was important to “reopen the business and connect with the community, to give people a space to come out and socialise in.
“The pub’s had a good, loyal following for a long time and we’re just focused on being that cultural hub.
“It made us feel really good, how the pub connects to people.”
It was a nervous time from March 23 when all bars were closed through to May 18 when they could have small re-openings. Mr Hook says they had to adapt fast; beer was sitting in kegs and they didn’t know if the lockdown would be over before it spoiled, so they started selling from the keg straight into oversized bottles (growlers) through the hotel’s bottle ship. That’s been so popular among lovers of fresh draught beer that they’ll keep doing it.
The Rosey’s also seen a surge of people missing live music come rushing back, even when the shows had to be seated through most of June.
“People are really excited to get back to watch live music,” Mr Hook says.
“Everything we’ve done so far has sold out. There’s a huge demand.”
Now that restrictions are further lifted, some weekdays are busier than pre-Covid lunchtimes.
As of June 27, patrons no longer have to be seated, and the main limit is the one person per 2 square metre rule.
“It’s the start of a return to normal,” Mr Hook told the Voice.
by DAVID BELL