Friends embrace 'Super Saturday' as pubs and bars reopen


Pubs, cafes restaurants and cinemas in England have opened their doors to customers for the first time in three months.

We asked six young photographers to document what an evening out looked like.

Ceri Oates – Whitby, Yorkshire

The seaside town and port situated on the east coast of Yorkshire is perhaps best known for its strong literary associations – particularly Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel Dracula – and the dramatic abbey ruins on the headland overlooking the town.

The Moon and Sixpence, Whitby. 4 July 2020

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The Moon and Sixpence, a harbour-side bar, offers views of the historic town. But its popular window seats have been removed to meet social distancing measures.

Lex Atkinson, manager at The Moon and Sixpence, Whitby. 4 July 2020

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Manager Lex Atkinson takes the details of all customers as they come to enjoy an evening out. The bar is offering table service only, and a booking system is in place, with customers limited to a two-hour slot.

Lex Atkinson serves customers at The Moon and Sixpence, Whitby. 4 July 2020

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These friends who travelled to Whitby from nearby Darlington say they are happy to see bars opening again as it is time to kick-start the economy. They say not seeing their friends is the thing they have missed most over the past three months.

Emma Morley and Lee Clarke from Peterborough, drinking at The Moon and Sixpence, Whitby. 4 July 2020

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Emma Morley and Lee Clarke from Peterborough both work for the NHS, and say they have had a hectic three months. Because of their work, they have been around people throughout the lockdown. “It doesn’t really feel any different for us [being out again], we’re not having to step out of our comfort zone,” says Emma.

A member of staff telling people the bar is full at The Moon and Sixpence, Whitby

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Lex Atkinson admits that a night out at the bar “looks so different to how it did before”. She says the reduced capacity will allow them to ease themselves back in gently after three months off. “It means we’ve got time to enforce the new stricter cleaning procedures such as wiping down till points and menus between every customer with antibacterial spray,” she says.

Bex Wade – Soho, London

The weekend marks the end of Pride events in the UK. Covid-19 meant that celebrating LGBT+ rights looked a little different this year with many of the events held virtually.

Track and trace app being used at GAY, Soho, London. 4 July 2020

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“We have installed screens between each table, there are sanitiser units around the building and everything is socially distanced,” says Jeremy Joseph, owner of G-A-Y. Capacity inside the club has been cut. People give their details before entering, and these are held for 21 days to tie in with the NHS track and trace system.

A group of friends drink at GAY, Soho, London. 4 July 2020

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“To be honest I wouldn’t normally be inside a bar but I did miss Pride generally,” says Evan, a 32 year old actor (pictured right). He says the atmosphere on Old Compton Street has been “amazing”. “This feels the closest to Pride that we could have,” he says.

People, separated by plastic screens, drink and chat at GAY, Soho, London. 4 July 2020

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Tommy is 25 and also an actor. He says he feels safe with the precautions the bar had in place. “They’ve put up lots of barriers, so it’s a one-way system. There’s lots of perspex so that germs can’t be spread.” He’s not so sure about the new rules of having to sit in a booth. “You can’t get up and dance,” he says.

People gather outside G-A-Y, Old Compton Street, Soho, London. 4 July 2020

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Michael, a 22-year-old receptionist, (pictured left) was disappointed events had been affected by the lockdown. “It’s one of the days of the year that I like to go out and express myself. But it’s OK because today it does feel festive – everyone’s out and about, and it feels a bit like Pride today.”

Sophie Wedgewood – Peckham, London

One of London’s coolest neighbourhoods, Peckham is filled with a variety of bars, restaurants and unique street art.

Gilda Bruno puts on makeup as she gets ready for an evening out

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Gilda Bruno is a 22 Italian living in London. “I moved here just before lockdown began. I was ready to explore a new city, meet new people and see what the city had to offer me. Then all of a sudden this happened.

Gilda Bruno gets ready for an evening out

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“Now things are going to get better. I’m going to try to make the most of my stay in London and connect with like-minded people and also the nightlife. It hasn’t been possible for the last few months.”

Gilda Bruno looks in a mirror as she leaves her home for an evening out

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“It’s definitely going to be a challenging experience, because in the past few years I have experienced a lot of social anxiety. I never really enjoyed being in big crowds, so having to face that experience again after a few months when I only interacted with my two flat mates is going to be a struggle.”

Gilda Bruno enjoys an evening out

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“Maybe people are going to be just as clumsy as me socially – especially after being inside for so long. I’m not really worried about the restrictions in place in the bars. It might make the focus more on being around people, conversation and quality time rather than just drinking.”

Joanne Coates – Northumberland

Situated in the northern part of the county close to the Scottish border and often referred to as the “Gateway to the Cheviots”, the small town of Wooler is a popular base for walkers. It has many attractive stone-built watering holes dotted around the town.

Bar staffat At The Angel Inn, Wooler. 4 July 2020

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At The Angel Inn, landlady Nikki says getting ready to reopen has been “a lot of work”. “I’ve put in a one-way system and taken out lots of furniture,” she says.”The staff all have plastic visors. I’ve made two separate smoking areas, and counted anyone coming in. We really need to be safe.”

A group of agricultural workers have gathered at The Chatton Arms Hotel. 4 July 2020

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Chatton is a village roughly 6km (3.2m) east of Wooler. A group of agricultural workers have gathered at The Chatton Arms Hotel. “We are regulars here, and our group is made up of people aged 18-to-35,” says one. “People of all ages gather here – we all talk to each other. It’s good for the older farmers. Without this they wouldn’t see anyone. If we didn’t have the pub here, there would be nothing else to do.”

Farmer Jonny Spink was out at his local The Three Horseshoes in Wensley.

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Farmer Jonny Spink was out at his local The Three Horseshoes in Wensley. “As a farmer not a lot has changed for me during this time. I’m enjoying being out. Working on your own can be stressful, and it’s bad for your mental health not seeing anyone.”

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Faith Aylward – Stratford, London

Described as “Stratford’s place to be”, Roof East, is a roof-top bar on top of an old shopping centre.

Customers drink at Roof East, Stratford, London. 4 July 2020

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The unusual venue boasts a crazy golf course, baseball batting cages and the Scottish game of curling. It’s cinema is temporarily closed.

Birute, staff member at Roof East, Stratford, London. 4 July 2020

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Birute, who works at the bar, is worried about the prospect of a local lockdown. She says young people need to be able to continue with their lives, as long as they “cooperate with the stipulations of post-lockdown life.”

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Stephanie, staff member at Roof East, Stratford, London. 4 July 2020

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Stephanie, who also works at the venue is cautious: “I reckon in a week of two there will be a second wave,” she says. “Given a little freedom, the natural tendency is for people to do their own thing, so I think people may forget the new rules.”

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Track and Trace instructions, Roof East, Stratford, London. 4 July 2020

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Unfortunately, rain cut short Saturday night’s festivities and the venue was forced to close early.

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Gemma Lou Quinton – Manchester

Four friends – two couples – have met up to enjoy a few drinks in the local pub, The Queens Arms in Audenshaw, Manchester.

Friends meet for a drink at The Queens Arms in Audenshaw, Manchester

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“The last time I went out was in February and I’ve really missed socialising with my friends,” says Demi Lonsdale. Dean Fallon thinks the pubs are doing enough to keep people safe: “We had to sign a form for tracing purposes, there are perspex screens at the bar, I’m really impressed.”

Club promoter Jake Rees organises a Sober Rave in Manchester. 4 July 2020.

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Club promoter Jake Rees, has put on a special event billed as a “sober rave”. It features entertainment and guest speakers, which he hopes will help people start to socialise again, after so many months at home.

Performers at a Sober Rave in Manchester. 4 July 2002.

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“These events are about making sure people feel safe and have a good time. It’s nice to see people socialising again – you can really see people light up when they are around other people enjoying good vibes.”

All photos subject to copyright.



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