Doncaster alive with people once again as cafes, pubs and an art gallery reopen to customers
Doncaster people were once again allowed to sit inside cafes, restaurants and pubs today - despite the rain the centre was a hive of activity.
May 17 has been a date in the diaries of many business owners.
It has allowed their customers to finally enjoy a cup of coffee inside a cosy cafe, a pint in an atmospheric pub and even wander around a brand new art gallery.
Independent cafe owner Sarah Pinkerton has welcomed Doncaster people into The Jazz Cafe this morning.
She said: “It’s so nice to be back.
“The town centre feels alive again.
“We were a bit anxious this morning about reopening but it has been wonderful.”
The Jazz Cafe will soon be hosting live music nights and events as well as being a peaceful spot for friends and family to reunite over hot drinks on rainy days.
One of their customers Matt Edgington was thrilled to tuck into a meal.
He said: “It’s great to eat inside again.
“These independent places have struggled over the lockdowns and it’s important that we support them.”
Another cafe who welcomed back smiling faces this morning was Dreambakes.
Carol Shekle, owner, said: “It’s fantastic to hear the buzz of people in the cafe again.”
Hannah Shekle added: “It’s been lovely to catch up with regulars again.”
Some Doncaster folk were looking for something a bit stronger than coffee and flocked to the town's pubs.
Craig Teale-Price, owner of The Olde Castle welcomed regulars back with open arms.
The pub had customers playing snooker, music blaring loud and many pints were pulled.
He said: “It felt weird opening this morning.
“All those things that are second nature were odd because I haven’t done them for six months.
“But it has been fantastic.
“Seeing the old regulars who I used to see every day back in here.”
Cactus Jacks is one of Doncasters oldest restaurants - they are fully booked for the evening of May 17.
Owner Paul McIvor, said: “We have been waiting for this day for a long time.
“We can’t wait to see the smiling faces of our regulars as they come back in.
“We have kept going through lockdown and never once sat down and given up.
“We hope local people support us.”
Head chef Bobby Sevo has been getting ready to serve customers inside again.
He said: “It’s much better than eating outside in the rain.
“I will be making delicious food - it’s a great feeling to have people coming inside again.”
The D31 Art Gallery opened today on Scot Lane.
A project that Chinwe Russell has been working on for many months has finally opened to the public.
The three story art gallery is jam packed with local people’s art and will be a cultural staple in the town centre for years to come.
Chinwe said: “This space is important for Doncaster and it’s people.
“It will provide opportunities for emerging artists and a place for creatives to gather.
“It is a space where art can be celebrated every day of the year.”