It has been over two months since restaurants, pubs and bars were permitted to reopen to the public, but it appears the newest Government restriction is destined to set the hospitality back a step, with a 10pm curfew coming into place across England as of Thursday 24 September.
This comes as a particularly large blow to venues that rely on the late-night drinking trade, as well as restaurants that offer tables well into the evening. However, for those that offer take-away services of bottles, beers and cocktails, the curfew provides a new USP; diners can enjoy a meal out, and when the times comes to pack up and leave, they can purchase a bottle to take with them and carry the merriment on at home – safely within their social bubble of six, of course.
Wine bar-turned-shops are nothing new to the restaurant scene; the likes of Forza Win in Peckham, south London, Ten Green Bottles in Brighton, and outposts of Humble Grape around the capital have laid the groundwork for the format to pop up all over the country. The pandemic, however, has led to a number of restaurants to also start selling their bottles to enjoy at home. Here are a few of our favourites to try out.
Cook House, Newcastle
Anna Hedworth’s dreamy Ouseburn bistro was one of the first to be hit with a 10pm curfew in a local lockdown. Luckily, her shop and deli, set up during lockdown, is fully stocked with wines, beers and home-made cocktails and soft drinks for diners to take home.
Foundry Lane Studios, Foundry Ln, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1LH; cookhouse.org
The Patricia, Newcastle
Another restaurant hit early on by the introduction of a 10pm curfew, this sleek Jesmond restaurant was quick to make it known that although last seating would have to be 7:45pm to allow diners time to enjoy the full six-course tasting menu, bottles of wine would be available to take home for the merriment to continue. The restaurant even offers to doggy-bag the rest of your meal should you wish to leave early, allowing you to enjoy the rest of the menu, with your purchased bottle, at home.
139 Jesmond Rd, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1JY; the-patricia.com