Venues reopen indoor spaces amidst Indian variant warning

Pubs, cafes and restaurants have reopened their doors in the latest easing of lockdown. In addition to indoor hospitality; galleries, theatres, sports stadia, cinemas and soft play centres are reopening too.

Hugging is also allowed again, but these should be “brief and cautious” in order to minimise the chances of spreading the virus.

The loosening of restrictions comes amidst a warning from health experts over the Indian variant of Covid-19, which has been detected in both the Boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is urging the Government to make vaccinations available to young adults in areas where the highly contagious variant is present.

One of the Government’s top scientific advisors, Sir Jeremy Farrar, warned that Monday’s changes may need to be reversed and is cautioning against meeting others indoors. Despite this, local businesses are thrilled to be able to welcome customers again, after what for many has been a long hiatus.

See below for some local venues which are opening their indoor areas this week.

Artisan Coffee – 372 King Street, W6 0RX

Artisan Coffee on King Street have launched their summer drinks menu to to align with today’s reopening including tonic water with espresso & coconut water with espresso.

On Sunday (16 May) Artisan tweeted: “We’re very much looking forward to tomorrow and having you all to sit in. And from tomorrow all our shops are taking BYO cups again, with 20p off if you bring yours in.”

Images above: inside Artisan Coffee, one of Artisan Coffee’s new summer drinks

Annapurna – 101 Chiswick High Road, W4 2ED

Indian restaurant Annapurna is one of Chiswick’s oldest and most successful Indian restaurants. They didn’t have a large enough outdoor area to open with other venues in April so are looking forward to welcoming customers indoors again.

Management said they were proud to be reopening their doors on Monday, whilst recommending customers call up to make a reservation beforehand.

Image above: Annapurna exterior, interior pre-pandemic

Chiswick Playhouse – 2 Bath Rd, W4 1LW

Chiswick Playhouse is kicking off their reopening week with Chiswick Playhouse Recharged, billed as a ‘a socially distanced festival of magic, musicals, comedy and more.’ The festival begins on 17 May and ends on 27 June.

The festival starts with A Night at the West End, starring Scott Sutcliffe (who was previously in Wicked) and Claudia Kariuki (previously in Priscilla Queen of the Desert). The concert will celebrate ‘the best of musical theatre’ with ‘irresistible songs’ from hit shows such as Little Shop of HorrorsDreamgirlsWicked and Les Misérables.

The festival will also include a new series of play reading, called Bare Bones. Actors will perform plays with no set, costumes or lighting – just the text, the performance, and the audience.

Scott Sutcliffe said he was “Feeling very lucky” to be performing at Chiswick Playhouse on Monday and encouraged people to snatch up the few remaining tickets on Monday evening to celebrate the “momentous day.”

For a full list of events and to buy tickets, see below:

Image above: Chiswick Playhouse above The Tabard

Chipotle – 227-229 Chiswick High Road, W4 2DW

Chiswick’s branch of Mexican grill restaurant Chipotle had its grand opening on Monday, with newly hired members of staff cutting the red ribbon outside the restaurant.

Chipotle had more than 2,600 restaurants as of September 30, 2018 in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants. They also offer catering for large events.

You can order food online too by following the link below:

Above: A Tweet showing Chiswick’s Chipotle employees cutting the red ribbon at the store’s grand opening

Fuller’s pubs – various

Chiswick has five pubs owned by Fuller’s: One Over the Ait, The Bell & Crown, The Pilot, The Old Pack Horse and The George IV, all of which have reopened their indoor spaces.

In a statement Fuller’s said they are “delighted” to be welcoming customers back inside their pubs. Table bookings are recommended and certain COVID restrictions still apply, such as table service and social distancing.

A spokesperson for Fuller’s told The Chiswick Calendar: “Today is another step on the road back to normality – but there’s still a long way to go. We’ve invested a lot of time, training and money in making our pubs welcoming and safe under the current restrictions and the teams in our pubs are just delighted to be back to doing what they do best – delivering an outstanding experience to our customers.”

Use Fuller’s pub finder to find which is closest to you:

Images above: One Over the Ait at Kew Bridge, The Bell & Crown along the Thames

Headliners Comedy Club – 185 Chiswick High Rd, W4 2DR

Simon Randall, the organiser of Headliners Comedy Club, said he is “really looking forward” to reopening and filling The George IV with laughter once again.

Shows are due to restart again on Friday 21 May and are sold out until 4 June. If you’re planning on getting tickets for June it’s advised to buy sooner rather than later.

Simon told The Chiswick Calendar: “We’re really looking forward to reopening after five long months – it’s been so long my laugh lines have filled in! I think Chiswick is a bit laughter-starved too as all the May shows have sold out (we’ve added some more in early June).”

Images above: The George IV exterior, Headliners Comedy Club pre-pandemic

Riverside Studios – 101 Queen Caroline St, W6 9BN

Riverside Studios in Hammersmith will be offering a dynamic programme of international theatre, dance, visual art, television, comedy and music.

In a statement, Riverside said: ‘The days ahead will be challenging but we’ve never been more convinced of the value of those who make us laugh, cry, gasp, imagine and wonder. Today we’re opening our doors again, so we can all (safely) share in the world of others. Ready when you are.’

On Wednesday 19 May (and for one night only), Riverside will be showing The Human Voice by Pedro Almodóvar. The short film is set during lockdown and stars Tilda Swinton and will be followed by a recorded Q&A session.

Images above: Riverside Studios interior pre-pandemic, promotional poster for The Human Voice

Greene King Pubs – various

The Tabard and The Packhorse and Talbot are pubs owned by Greene King in Chiswick.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Greene King said: ‘Our pubs have been busy making plans, stocking up the fridges and cellars and making sure we’re looking on point for your return.

Greene King’s website adds: ‘We’ve made a comeback!

‘Pub lunches, date nights and after work drinks, it’s been a year of lost moments. So, say goodbye to the video calls, catch up TV and loungewear. Dig out those glad rags because it’s time to raise a glass, together at last!’

On Facebook The Tabard said: ‘Raise a glass… The pub is back! Leave those brollies and rain macs at home and book to join us indoors from Monday to celebrate being together again at last. Book your table to secure your space:…/greater…/tabard

Images above: The Tabard, The Pack Horse and Talbot

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Indian variant in Ealing

See also: Council ends Streetspace trial at Turnham Green Terrace

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist).

Click here to support us.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.