The hospitality sector re-opened across England this week, and after months of not trading, independent bar owners were more relieved than most to be treated to the surge in business they were hoping for.
In Manchester, a generous helping of springtime sun has helped many independently-owned bars and restaurants across the city to resume their trade and fill their outside seating areas.
One bar, Wine and Wallop in West Didsbury, found their customers were just as eager to return as they were.
General manager of Wine and Wallop Group, Alex Davis, said: “We get a lot of locals and regulars, and they’re all very happy with how it’s going.
“We were busy from the get-go on Monday. From midday there were girls sitting outside drinking cocktails.”
After what has sometimes felt like an eternity of closed doors and hopeful messages to ‘see you soon’, the city’s bars have welcomed back patrons with open arms as well as new menus.
Davis explained: “It’s a lot of people’s social life, so they were straight back into it, and obviously the weather’s done us a load of favours this week.
“Sales have moved to more summery fare, so we’ve stocked a lot of white wine and small plates.”
As well as kind weather, these businesses have also benefited from applying for pavement licences to expand their seating further into outside areas.
Davis described how Manchester City Council is currently processing these applications with no fees, and how helpful this has proved.
“They want us to be open,” he said.
Next on the horizon is the possibility of indoor socialising in mid-May, something Davis is excited to provide.
“It’ll be good to get parties and functions going, and to have the DJ back at the weekends.”