08 Apr London pubs and restaurants get ready for Monday’s reopening
However, with the cold spell set to continue into next week and maximum temperatures of just 11C forecast for London on Monday, venues are attempting to “weather proof” their al fresco dining and drinking areas.
A spokeswoman for the Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall said customers in The Garden and at Kerridge’s Garden Grill will be handed angora blankets and hot water bottles and given the option of a hot or cold negroni welcome cocktail.
Other operators reported huge numbers of bookings for the first weeks after reopening, despite little prospect of warm spring weather in the next week.
The company behind the Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurants Sushi Samba, which has venues in Covent Garden and at the Heron Tower in the City, said they had been “overwhelmed” by the response.
Both have terraces and will reopen on Monday with a third restaurant, Duck & Waffle, which has no outdoor space, returning on May 17.
Operator Orange Brands Management said it had taken 20,000 reservations for the first two months, despite limited space, with weekends already fully-booked to early June.
Other well-known outdoor dining spaces preparing to reopen on Monday include San Carlo at Selfridges, on the roof of the Oxford Street department store.
West End retailers were also looking forward to trading again after more than three months of almost total shutdown.
Business group New West End Company, which represents traders in and around Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Bond Street, said it was teaming up with Spotify to launch a range of “shopping playlists” to encourage consumers to return.
Luciana Magliocco, the group’s associate director of Oxford Street, said: “We know there is pent up demand for consumers to enjoy real-life experiences. Our retail and hospitality brands across the district have been working hard to ensure that we can welcome shoppers back to our stores safely.”
A new survey named Covent Garden as the central London destination people were looking forward to revisiting more than any other.
It was followed by Camden, Soho and Leicester Square. The survey, commissioned by cab firm Addison Lee, found the favourite “guilty pleasure” missed during lockdown was grabbing a fast-food meal on the way home from a big night out.
However, two thirds of those surveyed said they would be more cautious next time they go into central London with 39 per cent saying they were not yet ready to take the Tube.
Market research firm Kantar predicted that £3.9 billion will be spent on high streets nationally in the first week after “non-essential” stores reopen.
Spokesman Simon Quirk said: “Based on our data and experience after previous lockdowns, we know that shoppers are excited to get back to the high street and we’re expecting pent up demand to fuel an immediate surge in sales.”
Meanwhile gym operator PureGym confirmed that it is reopening all 230 of its sites in England on Monday and is expecting nearly one million visits in the first week.