The Great Re-Opening (again)
It’s fair to share that we’ve had a few false starts and believe me, no one has hated that more than us.
Each time, stock has had to be written-off, the team go back on furlough and we’re closing the doors on you, our customers. I couldn’t imagine doing this once in my lifetime but having to close on three different occasions, has been heart-breaking.
There’s been lots in the press about the pressure pubs have been under and I confirm that the reports are right. We have four pubs in the group and we’ve only been able to open two of them: The Lockhart and The Red Lion and Sun in London’s Highgate – when allowed. Sadly, due to their size and lack of outside space, The Anchor Tap in Horsham and The Wenlock Arms, in London’s Hackney, have remained closed.
So, what has that meant for us? Well, we put all of our team on furlough, unlike many operators, including some household names, who instantly laid-off all of their staff. They clearly made the decision based on costs – furlough still costs the operator circa 18% when you factor-in NI and pension contributions. After putting the team on furlough, we then used the initial grant we received to pay ALL of our suppliers. Contrary to many reports, the government grant scheme has been a big help, particularly when you have Mid Sussex Council and specifically Kevin Stewart and his team, making sure the grants get into the rights hands…they have been outstanding and I dare say, there will be a few Publicans that wouldn’t have their pubs today, if it wasn’t for them.
If you’re still awake, here’s what else we’ve been upto during the latest lockdown:
Looking after those shielding: Back in January we, along with a band of volunteers, including our local MP, Mimms Davies and several councillors, delivered hot Sunday lunches to over 60 elderly locals who were shielding.
Helping those who are helping us: We’ve been popping hot coffee and doughnuts to the volunteers helping at the Clair Hall Vaccine centre.
Waste not, want not: With us only open Friday – Sunday since the start of the year, sometimes we have some great food leftover. But worry not, we don’t like waste either, so we’ve teamed-up with the lovely folks at Bentswood Community Project to ensure the food is getting to those who need it most.
More challenges ahead: We’re so looking forward to welcoming most of you back from April 12th, but to start with at least, it’s not quite ‘business as usual’. From April 12th until 16th May, we’ll have our outside space open, but that’s only 24 covers, so with a heavy heart, but to ensure we can actually try and recover from best part of a year closed, we have a few T&C’s (see below). We’ll update these in early May ahead of the second relaxation and hopefully, on June 21st, all this will be behind us and will only be something to tell the kids and grandkids about. Clearly, life isn’t just about pubs and many people have lost friends, family and jobs to this awful pandemic, but now it’s time to remember how lucky we are to have each other, celebrate family and friends and…raise a glass or two to better times.
Booking Terms and Conditions between April 12th – May 16th 2021
From 12th April, we will be resuming takeaway drinks from the pub. Frozen margaritas, wine, draught lager and ale etc. We will continue to do takeaway food too, but we will stop our delivery service.
We are currently only taking bookings from 12 April – 16 May. However, should the government guidelines change, requiring us to close, bookings will be automatically cancelled.
Please note, in order to make sure as many can get back to the pub as possible:
Bookings of 1-2 are for 2 hours
Booking of 3-4 are for 2 hours 30 minutes
Bookings of 5-6 are for 3 hours
The maximum table size is 6 people (including children, toddlers and babies. Please do not try to book multiple tables to make large groups as we will have to cancel your booking.
Please arrive on time for your booking. If you are 15 minutes past your booking time, we will cancel your booking. If you are unable to make your booking, please call us to cancel so we can give the table to someone else.
In line with government guidance, all bookings from 12th April – 16th May will be seated outside in our front garden (covered by the marquee).
There is a separate area at the front of the adjoining building, that, at certain times and weather permitting (not covered), we have permission to put tables and chairs. These will be for walk-ins only. But please note, if there should be bad weather, we will be unable to move your table to the front covered garden, or inside.
Apologies for so many rules and restrictions, but our main aim is to provide you with a safe space to have fun in, whilst trying to rebuild our business. Your understanding is appreciated.