England's Euro 2020 success the 'big lift' Leeds needed say staff at city's sold-out bars and pubs
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As the Three Lions prepare for the semi-final game against Denmark on Wednesday, the city's bars and pubs have enjoyed a boost in sales and table bookings.
But for the owner of Aire Bar, a popular haunt for Leeds United fans, it's the infectious community spirit that he's most enjoyed being a part of during the tournament.
“It’s been a big boost for us,” Chris Howard told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“It is different this year, as we’re still trading at about 50 per cent capacity due to the regulations.
“But there’s a real feel-good factor, it’s given everyone the big lift they needed. Whether you’re a football fan or not, it’s something to smile about after all the restrictions we’ve had.
“It hasn’t been the crazy atmosphere that we’d normally have, but there’s much more of a community spirit. Everyone was chatting to each other, it feels like we’re all in this together.”
Aire Bar boasts more than eight screens to show the big games and Chris has been busy taking booking enquiries ahead of Wednesday's match at 8pm.
“I definitely think England can do it and, either way, Wednesday will be amazing,” he added.
North Brewing Co is celebrating the tournament with its 99-can Euros beer boxes and has seen bookings fly out for England showings at the Springwell taproom.
The Leeds brewery's marketing and events assistant, Kate Stevens, said there had been a "crazy" atmosphere at the venue's outdoor space despite the temperamental weather.
She added: “The dedication of our customers to stay and watch the game in the rain on Saturday was overwhelming, it was so heartwarming to see.
“We’re opening extra days during the week to cover the England games and when we announced we were opening on Wednesday, we were fully booked within 12 hours.
“That moment where you see a goal go in and everyone cheers - that sense of community really comes into play.
“It’s lovely to see people getting involved with the sport and it’s not something we usually see in our venues, but you get on board for the Euros, because the whole nation is behind it."
Ellen Richards, marketing manager at Meanwood pub Beck and Call and Water Lane Boathouse in the city centre, said the venues have seen a boost in footfall during the tournament.
"The further on that the team progresses, the busier it's getting," she said.
"It's given us an extra boost and the excitement that everyone's needed this summer. It's nice to get a collective reason to celebrate.
"It's been electric and I'm hoping we can go all the way."
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