ONE of the area’s more iconic venues has had to adapt to the times to make sure it can re-open as safely as possible.
But the Buffet Bar at Stalybridge train station has had to make a huge concession – its kitchen will not be open.
The popular watering hole, situated on one of the platforms, has installed a screen on its bar and it has spaced tables out to a ‘safe’ one metre distance.
Owners Beerhouses said they are not adopting the two metre guidelines because “we as pubs need to be social.”
But the layout of the vintage venue meants it cannot operate as normal, with the kitchen closed.
As it geared up for re-opening, on or around July 22, a number of opinions were taken about how things should work.
Not least the customers and staff and Barry Shaw from Beerhouses told The Correspondent:
“We’ve acted on this feedback, which was that customers wanted to be safe, reassured and confident but they didn’t want to lose the pub experience/social aspect and the special atmosphere of the pub.
“In many ways the Buffet Bar will be just the same as before with good conversation, lovely atmosphere and great beer. The main changes will be you will have to be seated and order from the table.”
Changes have been implemented, including a partial screen at the bar but not full screening, contact details from track and trace will be asked for, a one in. one out policy for the toilets and extra hand sanitising facilities.
Staff also went through extensive training on Covid-19 and a full and thorough risk assessment was completed.
Barry added: “The rest is just confirming many of our current practices and ensuring that cleaning and sanitising is done regularly.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the pub industry millions of pounds – but in the Buffet Bar’s case, it has also cost two people their role.
The inability to open the kitchen has meant its team there cannot work.
In a statement, the Buffest Bar said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that when the buffet bar reopens that we will not, for the foreseeable future, be able to reopen the kitchen.
“Having assessed the risks, due the layout and size of the kitchen and bar area, unfortunately we cannot maintain a safe work environment whilst any distancing restrictions and guidelines are in place.
“We would like to take this opportunity to give our extremely talented kitchen team the credit they deserve.
“Ashley Rook has been with us nearly five years and in that time has created some quite wonderful food including fantastic pies, scotch eggs and Street Food Friday.
“More recently Julie Taylor joined the team due to the success of the kitchen and the increased demand for food.
“We at Buffet Bar want to wish them both the best of luck as they go forward and thank them for all their work during their time at our wonderful pub.”