Derry public praying for good weather as outdoor hospitality reopens

Derry public praying for good weather as outdoor hospitality reopens

Link48, which overlooks a local golf course, has invested in outdoor facilities.

Local businesses permitted to open from tomorrow are being inundated with bookings as the Derry public looks forward to enjoying outdoor hospitality once again.

Unlicensed and licensed premises such as restaurants, beer gardens, and cafes can open outdoors as part of an easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Indoor hospitality venues, including pubs and hotels, have to wait until May 24.

A number of pubs and restaurants around the city with outdoor space are ‘fully booked’ demonstrating an eagerness on the part of locals for a return to normality.

That includes Link48 Bar and Restaurant which is situated right next to Foyle Golf Course.

Owner, Tony O’Connor, whose other businesses include The Bentley, The Magnet and Molly Malone’s, has been hard at work ahead of reopening.

He explains: “Our new bar down at Pitchers, Link48, has a big outdoor space and we’re getting ready to open on Friday.

“We’re fully booked at the minute but will see how the weather is at the weekend.  If it’s like last weekend that would be great.

“I’m trying to source a marquee, I’ve bought 16 new picnic benches as it is a large, fully licensed area.

“Seven-foot heaters have been bought and an outside hut has also been built which adheres to the regulations.

“I’m trying my best to accommodate people.”

In keeping with Irish weather, at the time of writing the Met Office is predicting a sunny but cloudy weekend, with a chance of rain.

No matter the weather, Mr O’Connor is excited to welcome customers, he jokes: “They can’t wait to get back, but some people I’ve spoken to think we’re in Australia the way they’re talking about getting out.”

He adds: “The buzz about getting out and socialising is brilliant.  I’m quite nervous but also excited.”

Another local hospitality venue, DaVinci’s, has taken steps to upgrade its outdoor dining and drinking experience.

General Manager Olga Henry says: “We are privileged at Da Vinici’s to have an abundance of outside space which we are developing into a Village concept to enhance our customer experience in 2021.

“We now have capacity to seat approximately 100 customers for outside dining & drinking with social distancing in place.

“Launched in 2020 our heated canopy area and bubble pods are ideal for enjoying social distancing in style.”

A coffee dock is also based within the hotel grounds at the entrance to Bay Road Nature Reserve which she describes as ‘the ideal pit stop’ to enjoy coffee, freshly made crepes and ice cream.

Plans are afoot for two retail pods arriving in June and DaVinci’s is currently seeking local tenants to rent.

Ms Henry continues: “Judging by the number of enquiries we have had since the announcement of restrictions easing, our customers are just as delighted as we are to reopen the doors.

“We can’t wait to welcome them all back.

“Excitement is building at the prospect of reopening the full hotel services at the end of May including our award winning Caterina’s Bistro.”

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