Pub reinvents as a 'bar with no beer' to survive pandemic

Pub Reinvents As A 'Bar With No Beer' To Survive Pandemic Pub Reinvents As A 'Bar With No Beer' To Survive Pandemic
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Digital Desk staff

A pub in Mayo has reinvented itself as a bar with no beer in order to survive the forced closure of wet pubs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The premises of the Bridge St bar in Castlebar has been transformed into a café in order to re-open its doors, the first in the country to do so according to the Western People.

The revamped pub is set to open tomorrow afternoon, with pints replaced by caffeine, cake and non-alcoholic drinks.

Owners of the bar, the Swift family, were anxious to reopen its doors to provide a meeting space for the community, and said there had been an excited response from patrons on social media ahead of its first day back trading.

“People seem to like it. The reaction has been one of delight, which is great,” said Declan Swift, who runs the bar alongside his partner Audrey Bouvard.

“Our intention is that we can offer a safe, comfortable space for someone to have that chat and meet-up. We feel it’s very low-risk and we have discussed what we are doing with the relevant authorities and they are of the same opinion.”

The pub’s lockdown transformation included replacing top shelf beverages with hand-crafted ceramics and new artwork, while seating has been arranged to meet public health protocols while still offering a cosy atmosphere.

“It seemed obvious that this was going to go on for a long time, so we used it as an opportunity not just to create more segregated areas but also to update the interior and create more nooks and snugs, and intimate and atmospheric areas,” Mr Swift said.

He said the Vintners’ Federation was originally confused by the Swift’s plan to turn their pub into a café.

“When we contacted the Vintners’ Federation they weren’t sure about what we were doing and had to ask around. It seemed to be the first time somebody has asked that question,” Mr Swift said.

“This an opportunity to test out another side of things. Ultimately, we want to get back to normal trade but this is an opportunity with the lifeline of the Covid subsidy to experiment a little bit.”

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