WHILE most pubs across Northwich opened their doors on July 4, one treasured High Street bar decided to bide its time.

Chris Mundie, owner of the Salty Dog, felt that was not the right time for his pub to return from lockdown.

But with safety measures in place and ample outdoor seating, the pub reopened on Tuesday and business is 'so far, so good'.

"Obviously we can't do things that we used to do so we are functioning more as a regular pub than normal," Chris told the Guardian.

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"So far everyone seems happy with what we've done, we've got a roundabout system in the main bar, and people are used to the fact that this is how it is going to be for now."

With a need for additional seating, the Salty Dog now features a tiki garden featuring Hawaiian-inspired artwork from artist Mike Ryland, as well as tables and chairs at the front of the pub.

Northwich Guardian:

The tiki garden while work was getting underway

"We are definitely going to keep the tiki garden after the pandemic," Chris said.

"We applied for an al fresco licence so we have got more seating outside at the front too, and I think they are both definite improvements."

While outdoor seating is proving popular in the summer months, time will tell whether that continues as the weather turns colder.

Chris says that is just one of many factors that will be considered by businesses like his in the months ahead.

He said: "Some people will not be able to wait to get back out, but others won't feel comfortable.

"There are so many factors to consider – we have just got to find out."

Since the pandemic began, Chris has given his backing to the national Save Our Venues campaign to support beleaguered independent gig venues.

Northwich Guardian:

Al fresco seating outside the Salty Dog

The Arts Council is currently distributing funds to support industry from the Government, but Chris says he is unsure whether it will be enough to protect the industry.

As for the Salty Dog, it will be holding its first event since lockdown on August 9, when comedian Kevin Dewsbury hosts a special outdoor version of his comedy club – with tickets already sold out.

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