Doncaster pub back open after five years – but not all will re-open on Monday

For one Doncaster village, Monday’s not just the first chance to go into their local since lockdown – it’s the first chance since since it closed early five years ago.

By David Kessen
Thursday, 13th May 2021, 5:00 pm

Gordon Jones, whose pub company, Speakeasy Company Ltd, bought the site at the start of last year, has had the outside open in the last few weeks.

But Monday’s easing of lockdown is the first chance he has to open it indoors since completing work to bring it back into use during lockdown.

His is one of many pubs opening their doors again, some for the first time since October when Doncaster went into tier three lockdown.

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Gordon Jones, pictured at The Coach and Horses, Barnburgh. Picture: NDFP-02-03-21 CoachHorses 3-NMSY

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"We’ve opened outside over the last few weeks like others, but we’ve been governed by the weather,” he said. “You can’t expect people to sit outside if it’s pouring with rain.

“It’s been difficult and people are looking forward to the next step.

"We’ve blocked the rooms off at the Coach and Horses throughout that time, so people could just get to the toilets. So I think there is a lot of excitement about people finally getting in. A lot of people in the village have said they can’t wait because it was a derelict pub in the village for four and a half years.

David Sissons, pictured outside The Spinney, in Balby. Picture: NDFP-23-02-21-Spinney 3-NMSY

"We bought it late March last year. I think we thought we may be able to open at Christmas, but that wasn’t to be.”

He expects the outside area of the pubs to still be important, and has brought in technology that will allow customers to order drinks from their tables using a mobile phone app.

“Hopefully if things go well, we’ll be back to normal by the end of June,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Balby, Dave Sissons is looking forward to re-opening for the first time since October at the Spinney.

Gordon Jones, pictured at the Coach and Horses, Barnburgh. Picture: NDFP-02-03-21 CoachHorses 2-NMSY

He has run the pub since 1991, and it has been in his family for 50 years.

He remembers well the last night he was open in October. before pubs were forced to close.

“We opened in the evening at 7pm and there were people queueing up outside,” he said. “It wasn’t like New Years Eve though, because we had restricted numbers."

"We were shut from March to July, then since October, so I don’t think there will be many staying shut. We’ve only been open for three of the last 14 months.”

Biscuit Billy's owner Martin Blagden, pictured. Picture: NDFP-29-09-20-BiscuitBillys 5-NMSY

He is getting his beer delivered on Friday and will be ready to open. But he says it may take time to get fully up and running with all the supplies.

He urged customers to follow the rules on things like face coverings and distancing, as pubs could close if they were ignored.

"It may be a stressful time for landlords enforcing the rules,” he said.

For some though, re-opening will still have to wait.

Martin Blagden, who runs Biscuit Billy’s on Silver Street in the town centre, said he would not be opening on Monday – but would wait until full re-opening was possible.

He said: “We tried opening in October with distancing, but it was not economically viable. We’re a party venue, and we hope to re-open with a bang later. People have told us they can wait to get back, but want it how it was.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.