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But now, with restrictions for bars, cafes and restaurants eased, businesses are finally getting back to normal.
There’s a few obvious differences for most – capacities are reduced as tables have been spaced for social distancing guidelines and venues have introduced their own safety measures to keep things as safe as possible for staff and customers.
Many businesses in the Baltic have continues trading through lockdown including the fantastic Baltic Pizza Company and Dockleaf as well as Botanical Garden, all delivering their food and drink to your doors.
But how near to business as usual is it for our other Baltic favourites?
One of Liverpool’s newest and most exciting dining experiences opened last November, bringing a taste of Tianjin to the Baltic Triangle. Led by Executive Head Chef Dave Critchley, Lu Ban is based inside Cains Brewery Village and the entire menu takes inspiration from the Tianjin region of China. It reopens on Thursday 9th July with bookings now being taken.
A brand new summer menu will be available and guests can also guarantee access to their own exclusive private dining rooms, perfect for this missed celebrations by pre-booking here.
Dave Critchley says: “As a business we are working on extra procedures to enhance guest and staff safety so that you can enjoy your reservation with us”
Baltic Market introduced a click and collect service a few weeks ago, but since restrictions eased it’s now open for sit-in customers too, Thurs-Sunday, closing at 10pm (kitchens at 9pm).
David Williams, co-owner of Baltic Market explains: “At the moment we’re going to stick to walk-ins rather than table bookings because a food market needs a constant flow of people to work and we’re confident we can keep that super-safe.”
There’s a one-way system to toilets, specially-curated local DJ playlists in place of live music and instead of the market’s usual shoulder-to-shoulder seating and standing crowd, it’s seating only, with tables reduced by around 60% to allow for spacing.
Our hours are as follows: Thurs 5-10pm, Fri 5-11pm, Sat 12-11pm and Sun 12-10pm. We will be on Uber Eats Wednesday evenings as well as the whole weekend for those who want to get us delivered to their house or click and collect ??
no bookings, just turn up ? pic.twitter.com/Nx8yFeLOCL
— Baltic Market (@BalticMarketLiv) July 7, 2020
“But things don’t have to be fun or safe, they can be both,” says David. “And from a guest’s point of view it’s still great because they don’t have to queue, they just get everything brought to their table.
“They arrive and are greeted by a host and we take details of one of the party for track and trace. We sit them at the table and then they download an app called Glug and every food trader menu and different bar menus are available on that. Their order is brought to their table and then it’s contactless payment.
“Getting used to the new way of operating is going to be interesting, a lot of learning and changing, but I just hope the general public are kind and patient and realise we’re trying our best.”
Peaky Blinders in Cains Brewery Village has reopened seven days a week, from midday onwards, closing earlier than usual at 11pm every night.
Neil Cooper, operations manager, says: “We’ve been lucky because Liverpool is such a big venue so we’ve been able to maximise seating capacity but still keep everyone a good distance apart and keep the atmosphere. We’ve spread everything out and moved things around so people have got their backs to the table behind rather than being in a line.
“We’ve also put hand sanitiser stations at the entrance and outside the toilets and we’ve added new markings on the floor for a one-way system in the bar area.”
It’s table service only, so customers wait to be seated, they’re asked to stay at their seats unless they’re going to the toilet, and not to move tables and chairs around.
“Our normal capacity is 450, but a lot of that is standing, dancing and being at the bar. Now it’s all seated, downstairs we’ve got capacity for about 140 and outside another 50,” says Neil.
Over 100 days we’ve been closed but we are ready to welcome you back safely tomorrow.
The team have been working hard to get ready, we think it looks great.
Safety Guidelines available here, please read them before you visit: https://t.co/1uSrAeHeqB
We can’t wait to see you. pic.twitter.com/JQfBHOfGQ6
— Punch Tarmey’s Liverpool (@TarmeysPunch) July 3, 2020
Punch Tarmey’s Irish pub in Cains Brewery Village has introduced strict social distancing, with all guests now seated, new signage, floor markings and tables spaced out.
There’s a hand sanitiser station at the entrance, customers are seated at their table by a host and they’re asked not to move anything around because the layout has been carefully planned within the guidelines. Tables will be set once guests arrive, orders will be taken and brought to customers who are asked for contactless payment if possible.
Live sport is still being shown, but commentary will be kept to what it describes as “a reasonable volume” and customers are asked to respect others and so not to shout/cheer as per government guidelines.
Over 100 days we have been closed but we are ready to welcome you back safely tomorrow.⠀
The team have been working hard to get ready and we think it looks great. ⠀
Walk in’s are available tomorrow.
We can’t wait to see you! pic.twitter.com/SS4sGMIc3j
— ArCains (@arcainslpl) July 3, 2020
ArCains gaming arcade in Cains Brewery Village is owned by the same group as Punch Tarmey’s so is following the same safety measures for reopening.
In addition, each visitor to ArCains will be given their own bottle of hand gel and a face mask to use while they’re in the venue which will be included in the price of entry.
They’ll also be asked that if someone is using a machine that is not within their family/bubble that they leave one machine space.
Andrew Mikhail, the owner of Punch Tarmey’s, ArCains & Brewery Tap, says: “We are more than excited to welcome our customers back again but we are aware that this needs to be done in a safe way, ensuring that government guidelines are followed. My team has worked very hard behind the scenes to get ready for this and I am confident that those visiting us will have a great experience.’’
Birdies Bar is back open after undergoing a tropical makeover. The Caribbean-style bar has had several renovations to make sure customers and staff are kept safe under the new guidelines.
Sixteen new wooden beach-style cabanas, each with a retractable roof system, have been installed to keep partygoers dry and comfortable during the unpredictable summer season. With the new seating also comes a new app so revellers can order their food and drink to their tables.
Owner Daniel Bolger explains: “Safety has been at the very forefront of all of our renovation work and we have made sure everyone is going to get an even better Birdies experience than before.
“The new retractable roof system means that come rain or shine, you’ll be able to stay with us, drink, dine and dance to the free live entertainment we offer.”
Reservations for Birdies are now essential, with a small deposit to be paid when booking, redeemed against the bill.
Ghetto Golf has also been given an extensive overhaul during the lockdown period and owner Daniel says it’s now unrecognisable from the place they launched four years ago.
It’s had a total redesign, complete with some huge surprises, and will be back open soon.
Six years since it arrived, Constellations garden bar has reopened with a reimagined concept to allow it to follow the guidelines.
It’s offering a safe haven, with bookable tables in private garden pods and walk-up seating with comfortable social distancing. Food and drink are ordered via phone and served at tables.
Open Friday to Sunday, it now has a newly fitted out DJ pod, thanks to a Liverpool City Region Music Board grant, which will host local DJs and musicians.
Indie speciality coffee shop Coffee & Fandisha is a Baltic must-go, and it’s been serving takeaways since mid-May to keep loyal fans fuelled during lockdown.
Now it’s reopened for sit-ins too, at newly spaced tables, initially on alternate days – so Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. There’s a full menu available plus freshly-baked in-house cakes and grab and go items.
One of the city’s most unique retail spaces, Red Brick Market in Cains Brewery Village’s has been reopened since June 15 and, because it’s in a spacious warehouse, it’s been able to simply bring in social distancing measures.
There’s a new one-way route around the building, a hand sanitiser station for visitors, and contactless payment.
Open every day from 10am, with over 40 local independent small businesses selling homewares, clothing (new and pre-loved), gifts, antiques, art, vinyl records and more, the Red Brick community has also just welcomed NHShop, raising funds for NHS Charities Together.
Home to gigs, club nights, festival and screenings, District has reinvented itself post-lockdown as District Inside Out – a fully-seated, plant-filled bar.
Inside there’s seating for individuals and groups of 2, 4 and 6 from the same social bubble, plus a new outdoor seating area on New Bird Street next door to Yard.
It’s brought in natural air purifying plants and trees, opened up the building for extra sunshine and ventilation and added germ-busting essential oils on all tables.
Tables are spaced between 1.8m and 2m and are separated with eight-foot high palm trees!
Last, but definitely not least, the Baltic’s little urban oasis has reopened, from 12-11pm with no booking needed but new distancing rules in place – serving Voltagabbana pizza and lots of gin, of course!
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