A Wimbledon-style retractable roof to shelter drinkers during the winter months is among the innovative ways Dundee pub landlords are trying to stay open in anticipation of a second wave of coronavirus.
As cases rise and the UK and Scottish governments enforce further local lockdowns, thoughts are turning to how pubs can keep serving in the age of face masks and social distancing.
Yesterday The Fort in Broughty Ferry took delivery of a new retractable roof to ensure it can shelter its customers in colder temperatures and if socialising inside pubs is again banned.
The pub had already converted its car park into a permanent outdoor space in preparation for welcoming back punters in July.
John Black, owner of The Fort, said the roof would make a huge difference to being able to accommodate the same number of revellers as they currently do.
He said: “I’m delighted that we have now been given permission to put a retractable roof over the beer garden.
“This will make a massive difference for us and means we will be able to serve customers outside come rain or shine.
“It is the same idea as the roof at Wimbledon so if the sun is shining the roof can be open but if the rain comes on we can close the roof at the push of a button.”
“The guys have already started erecting the roof and we also have wiring for heating.
“These are things we never thought we would have to get installed but we are all just having to adapt as we go on and learn from how things are changing.”
Meanwhile, the developer behind what has been touted as Dundee’s largest beer garden is also taking steps to ensure drinkers will stay warm and dry whatever the weather.
The team renovating the former St Roque’s Library – better known as the Reading Rooms – has had to push back its plans for opening to carry out the necessary work.
It had been hoped the beer garden – which will be named the West House Garden – would open on July 18.
Andrew McMahon, owner of the West House pub in Hawkhill, said: “A few building issues and setbacks meant we weren’t ready to open on our original planned date. However, we are now hoping to be open in about two weeks time.
“All being well, the astroturf for the garden is going down next week and then we will be erecting a marquee on top.
“We had to get separate planning permission from the city council for the marquee which will see us right through the bad weather.
“We will be able to seat 100 inside and still have seating for another 60 people outside.
“We have been doing a lot of work to get things ready to open.
“We are now at the final stages of getting ready for opening and are really excited that it is all coming together.”
The pub will also be installing patio heaters to ensure punters can be served outside comfortably.
Once this work is completed, phases two and three of the project will follow, with the interior of the building being redeveloped.