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Cheers to bar service again

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By Euan Maxwell
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Cheers to bar service again

DRINKERS in Annandale were finally welcomed in out of the cold on Monday as hospitality restrictions continued to ease.

Since the start of this week, venues have been allowed to serve alcohol indoors until as late as 10.30 pm for the first time this year.

And landlords have reported a triumphant first few days back as many flocked to their local to enjoy a pint, glass of wine or even a cocktail inside.

Heather Morrison, who runs Moffat’s Coachman Bar, said it felt “absolutely amazing” to fully open-up again, adding: “I’ve had to learn how to pour a pint all over again!”

She continued: “On opening we had a few of our regulars, even if they just popped in for one or two and to see us and say hello. What was quite funny is that we had quite alot of young people walk in at two minutes past 11 as we opened the doors, they stood at the bar and said ‘we’ll come back for a drink, it’s a bit early but we just wanted to feel the bar again’.”

Heather said staff are taking it “day by day” at the moment, but added they are hoping to be able to host live music again later in the summer.

“When I took over two years ago,” she said, “we would cram 100 or 120 people in here on a Saturday night for the live band – you know those days are now gone, but I’ve learnt very quickly over this covid that if you stick to your 45 or 50 people, which is a comfortable amount, they feel comfortable, they stay longer and the takings end up the same anyway.”

Meanwhile, at the Townhead Hotel in Lockerbie, owner Stephen Montgomery was glad to have the “buzz” back inside his pub.

He said on Monday: “It’s nice to see people coming back in, people have been really receptive and they’re glad to be back. There’s a more homely feel about the place because customers know they don’t have to be rushed because they don’t have to be out by eight o’clock so we can now go on to half ten. So they’re more relaxed – and to be fair the staff are more relaxed as well.”

Stephen, above, also commented that the attitudes of younger customers visiting the bar “have changed for the positive”.

He added: “Before, when they were coming out they could have a drink, do what they want, they didn’t have to worry about rules and regulations, whereas now they’re not vaccinated so they’re still having to take precautions and follow the rules and they are listening which is great – and it’s great to see young ones coming back out as well because at the end of the day they’re our future customers, so if we treat them right now it’s a long-term gain.”

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