Brian Ellis raises a glass as pubs re-open . . . well sort of

It was the heady moment many beer drinkers had been waiting for with parched lips since before Christmas.

Monday, 12th April 2021, 6:07 pm
Updated Monday, 12th April 2021, 6:10 pm

After putting up with bottles and cans as poor substitutes for almost four months, ale lovers were able to slake their thirst with a "proper" pint at the local pub.

And boy did it taste good.

Someone had to volunteer to research the story, so I joined a handful of expectant customers just as the Market Tavern in Preston city centre pulled its first pints after Lockdown III.

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It's Monday, it's 10am and it has to be time for a pint.

They were a jolly bunch, even at 10am, as glasses of foaming ale were delivered to the early birds at a scattering of tables outside the Victorian hostelry.

It has to be like this for the next five weeks at least before drinkers can move indoors on the next step towards some kind of normality.

Fortunately yesterday morning was sunny and, with a decent dollop of imagination, we could all have been sitting outside a bar on the Costa del Sol.

I'm not sure the experience would have been so pleasant had it been chucking it down. But even then it has got to be better than nothing.

That special moment . . . intrepid reporter Ellis is served a 'proper' pint by landlord Gavin Corless.

Landlord Gavin Corless was buzzing. "It's been tough, but we've come through it," he said as he served me a pint of Ossett Blonde - a Yorkshire brew which we can forgive on such a landmark day.

"I think we were one of the earliest to open. It felt great pulling those first pints. It's like we're bringing a bit of happiness back to the city centre.

"If this weather holds up and everyone is as happy as they are today then it's going to be brilliant."

Customers Catherine and David Scarfe had been out shopping at the nearby market hall when they spotted activity at the pub opposite and decided on an impromptu pit stop.

Early bird customers Catherine and David Scarfe enjoy a drink at the Market Tavern.

"It was the end of October when I last had a drink at a pub," said David. "I've been looking forward to this day very much, but I didn't realise they'd be open so early.

"Drinking at home isn't the same. The pub is about socialising and having a bit of banter. It's the social interaction you miss and I'm sure a lot of people have been affected badly."