Pubs ready to welcome football fans back to watch the match as England starts its Euro campaign
Pubs in Leeds are looking forward to welcoming football fans back to watch football as England prepares for its first game in the Euros this weekend.
With lockdowns, restrictions on sport and pub and bar closures, the concept of popping to the local to watch the game with mates may seem like a distant one, but bars in the city centre are hoping that the Euro 2020 championship will be the kickstart to a good summer of trade and a move towards more 'normality' for the industry and customers.
Aire Bar on The Calls in Leeds city centre has had almost 500 enquiries for bookings this Sunday as England plays its first game in this year's competition against Croatia.
However, despite only being able to seat 90 due to restrictions and logistics and taking 50 per cent less than it would usually, the bar is hoping fans will create a buzzing atmosphere.
Chris Howard, the owner of Aire Bar, said: "We have had massive interest and somewhere in the region of 400 to 500 booking enquiries. But, with the current restrictions, realistically we can only seat 90 people whereas normally we would have been good for 300 to 350. We will make the best of it and try and keep it as normal as possible. That has been our ethos from the start, we didn't want it to be about COVID, but about football and getting back to being a pub."
There are eight screens in the bar showing the game and tables are also being reserved for walk ins so everyone has a chance to visit the bar and watch the game.
Mr Howard added: "We have got eight huge screens so anywhere that you are sat you can get a good view of the screen. We have tables purely for walk-ins so rather than everyone book them and others not get a chance - that is not how the pub system works.
"We just want to get back to people thinking 'we are going to the pub, where shall we go' and it will be off the cuff. We are open at 10am on Sunday and we want people to embrace the build up and create an atmosphere rather than it be formal and get a bit more normality within the pub.
"We have already got people asking about booking for the final. I admire their optimism but let's see how we get on first."
Over at Brotherhood on New Briggate, they are hopeful that England will give fans something to celebrate.
Nicole Banks said: "We are looking forward to it. I think it will be good for bars and hopefully England will do well and it will give us something to celebrate. It is a bit of a new normal but it will be good if restrictions get lifted on the 21st as there is another game then and it will be interesting to see what happens. Everyone will buzzing just to be able to go and watch the Euros in a pub."
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