Freedom is returning. The sun is out (at least at the time of writing). COVID-19 cases are low – and falling.
But, best of all, the pubs are (nearly) open. On 12th April, England will take a huge step back to normal life: pubs and restaurants can reopen for outdoor dining and drinking, non-essential retail can return (so you can get that desperately needed haircut), and outdoor activities like zoos and theme parks will also be back open.
As 12th April also marks the start of the Summer term at the University, we look at where you can bask in some of that late Spring sun, all with a freshly poured pint in hand.
Brewhouse and Kitchen
Brewhouse and Kitchen are accepting outdoor bookings from 12th April. They have a lot of outdoor space and a car park. They have plenty of variety in terms of drinks, so you’ll be spoilt for choice – I’ll be taking a Clwb Tropicana – and there is a good selection of low and non-alcoholic drinks. If you’re more of a foodie, they have a brilliant menu of sandwiches, small plates, burgers and good main meals. The only downside here is the view – the atmosphere on the inside feels great, but the outside view isn’t amazing as it is set up beside a road, as well as being a little bit on the pricier side.
Brewhouse and Kitchen, 47 Highfield Road, SO17 1QD.
The Dolphin is a cute, small pub with a well-equipped pub garden. Tucked away just beside the A335 and down the road from Portswood Sainsbury’s, this pub is easily accessible and has lots of space for socialising. Prior to the last lockdown, the garden was adorned with lights but it now appears a gazebo has been put up in preparation for reopening shortly.
The Dolphin, 30 Osborne Road South, SO17 2EZ.
The Cricketers Arms
With a lovely covered rear patio – which boasts a TV, music and heating – and capacity out front, this pub in the centre of Southampton has confirmed it is reopening at 5pm on Monday 12th April. You can make reservations online or on the phone, and their active Facebook page. They boast a new and improved menu if you are just looking for food, and a whole range of ales and other drinks if you’re looking for something a bit harder. They will be open in evenings during the week and for lunch service, too, at weekends. It is also a great location, sandwiched between London Road and Bedford Place.
The Cricketers, 34 Carlton Place, SO15 2DX.
The Shooting Star
With the government having removed the 10pm curfew for restaurants and bars, The Shooting Star has confirmed its plans to reopen from 12th April, though they have warned it is ‘weather dependent’. Cocktails and music will be available under the lights in Bevois Valley, with a plan to be open from 4pm-3am every day. There is also a 2-for-1 deal on cocktails from 4pm-6pm, so expect queues. The bar has no plans to accept bookings and have confirmed groups of no more than six will be permitted in the venue.
The Shooting Star, 40-42 Bevois Valley Road, SO14 0JR.
Pitcher and Piano
This is where you will go if you want a view with your drink. With some fantastic deals, including Bottomless Brunch and 2-for-1 cocktails, your bank account won’t be too hard hit by dining or drinking here. Nestled beside the River Itchen, Pitcher and Piano sits in the marina in Ocean Village, yards away from the NOCS and – if the weather is good enough – you’ll find yourself forgetting about your deadlines and taking in the sun, drinks and food (a great menu here). Bookings are available on their website.
Pitcher and Piano, Ocean Village, SO14 3JB.
The Bishop on the Bridge
A final one here, but a special shout out for those of you living in Winchester. The Bishop on the Bridge is a pub with a view. With seats practically on the bank of the River Itchen, a combination of good weather and good food means you can’t go wrong here. Drinks are available and the cost is fair given the location. Less than 10 minutes from WSA, this pub is advising bookings and have confirmed they’ll be reopening on 12th April.
The Bishop on the Bridge, 1 High Street, Winchester, SO23 9JX.
All dates have come directly from the pubs or bars and are subject to change based on government guidance.