Pubs were today gearing up for a heatwave weekend as 57F temperatures promised to bring customers to their beer gardens - but landlords warned current Covid rules meant they would still be unprofitable.
Venues had been allowed to reopen outdoor service on Monday and some saw full bookings, albeit of reduced spaces.
But the icy weather had meant some older drinkers stayed away, unable to enjoy their first sip of freedom.
The current restrictions have provided landlords with a difficult conundrum - as those opening will still lose profit.
Kyle Michael, landlord of the Launton Arms in Oxfordshire, said he was hoping a good showing this Saturday and Sunday.
He told MailOnline: ‘Business has been steady, Monday was good, but Tuesday died down a bit, so it has been an okay start.
The Launton Arms in Oxfordshire operates a walk-in service and is hoping for a good weekend
Ye Olde Mitre Inn in Barnet has had good trade but says cold weather has been hard on elderly
‘We have not had people rush out in the way people predicted and I think the cold weather may have been part of that.
‘The hot weather this weekend should help, we have got a big marquee which should get twice as many people able to come, all within the rules.
‘We aren’t doing bookings, we are walk-ins, so we are definitely a pub able to welcoming people in this weekend.’
Gary Murphy of Ye Olde Mitre in Barnet said he had been busy since the reopening and hoped good weather would help this weekend.
He told MailOnline: ‘I am open, six days out of seven. We are struggling a bit with all these new rules but we have been as full as we can be.
‘I have had 80-year-olds freezing cold because they have to be in the garden, yet all inside is empty – no-one can understand it.
Beaconsfield was getting busier today as people were out and about enjoying the Spring
People queue to gain entry to a pub in Manchester on Tuesday on the second day of freedom
People sit at setup tables outside a pub in Soho, in London, on the day some restrictions went
‘We are having to turn people away but we are very limited in space because of the amount of seats we have.
‘Better weather will help most pubs that have big enough gardens up and down the country.
‘People are very happy to be back but the feeling from my customers is that they don’t really understand why some can’t be inside the pub, with people being let back to offices. The silliness of all these rules, people are fed up of it.’
Pubs are facing a difficult situation in this latest release of lockdown rules.
Landlords want to be open for their loyal customers, but the restrictions mean they are operating at losses to do so.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Whilst many have gone back to their local for a pint, it’s not all roses in the pub beer garden. Even though they seem full, the reality is pubs are operating with just 20% of the space they’d usually have.
"That’s not full capacity, that is restricted capacity and at levels that in normal times would be deemed very quiet. It is for this reason we need pubs to open indoors and out as soon as possible and the restrictions to be removed to allow us a chance at trading viably and making any kind of profit.
“With so few tables and spaces available in pubs for outdoors service only, we implore people that if they can no longer make their booking, notify the pub so they don’t miss out and someone else can get the table instead.”
James Calder, Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, said there should be extra financial support for pubs.
He said: "With only around a third of pubs open in England this week the brewing industry is still a long way from recovery. Those pubs that are open are operating under restrictions which make them loss-making. Drinkers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have to wait a little longer and so do the publicans and brewers. Cask beer, which is only available in pubs and is the backbone of British brewing was down 70% over the last year.
"Watching pint glasses being lifted in pub gardens across England this week has lifted all of our spirits. Thousands of people have supported the 'cask is back' campaign and have been sharing photos of themselves enjoying a pint from a local brewery using the hashtag #CaskIsBack.
"Whilst this week has been overwhelmingly positive and safe, we mustn't forget that brewers will not be profitable for weeks or months to come until all restrictions are lifted. Thats why, despite all the positivity of this week we need a Brewers Support Fund from the Chancellor to ensure every business has a fighting chance of brewing beer for the Summer”.