Saturday, 15 May 2021

Outdoor bar and grill at weekends

A “POP-UP” bar and grill is to open on Woodcote village green after being granted permission by the parish council.

Ch33rs! will be operated by Chris Savage, from Stoke Row, who has organised hospitality events previously.

He also ran a home beer delivery service in partnership with the West Berkshire Brewery during the coronavirus lockdowns.

The bar will be open for five weekends, starting next Friday, from 4.30pm to 10pm on Fridays, 4pm to 10pm on Saturdays and noon to 4pm on Sundays.

Tables will consist of no more than six diners from the same household or “bubble” to comply with coronavirus rules and there will be no more than 100 people on the site in total.

Food will be prepared and served from a temporary cabin staffed by the team from the Highwayman Inn at Checkendon.

The menu will consist of barbecued food such as burgers and hot dogs and there will be West Berkshire Brewery beers and Mr Hobbs gin, from Henley.

The business will operate from a fenced-off area near the playground off Reading Road to avoid competing with the Red Lion pub on the opposite side of the green, which will be serving food and drink outside at tables from Tuesday.

Four of Ch33rs!’s sittings have already sold out and others are nearing capacity.

The cabin will be put up and taken down at the start and finish of each weekend.

Mr Savage said: “Lots of families will be looking to get out and about and this is quite a relaxing venue — the kids can play on the green while the parents sit with some food and drink.

“We’ve already got 700 bookings across five weekends, which is pretty fantastic. It’s weather-dependent but I think there’s an appetite to get out there whether or not it rains.”

When Mr Savage proposed the venture to the council, the Red Lion wasn’t planning to reopen until May 17, when customers will be allowed inside pubs again.

But after the council approved it in principle, the pub brought its re-opening date forward so the pop-up was moved from its intended position near the village hall.

The Red Lion will continue offering a takeaway service as well as outdoor drinking and dining, some of which will take place in a converted section of its car park off Goring Road.

Landlord Chris Shelton said: “It has been a challenging year but thankfully our landlord Greene King has been supportive and people are looking forward to things getting back to normal.

“We’re 90 per cent wet-led so while we do offer pub grub, we’re mostly looking forward to everybody coming back to enjoy a few drinks outdoors.”

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