Devon pubs that won’t be reopening on Monday and why

While many pubs with the luxury of substantial beer gardens have been getting ready to reopen for outdoor serving next Monday, a vast number of Devon establishments will still remain closed.

Those without big enough outdoors spaces or gardens have said it is simply not financially viable to open or require more time to make the necessary preparations and meet all the government guidelines

The rules include social distancing, the rule of six, and payments are not allowed to be made indoors which could be problematic for pubs in rural areas who do not have a Wi-Fi signal that extends outdoors.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has been reported as saying only 40 per cent of venues will reopen in April due to a lack of outdoor space.

Devon Live spoke to some local pubs who are having to wait until May 17 before they can open their doors again. As part of step three of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, that is the date set for when indoor hospitality will reopen. However, social distancing and groups within the legal limits will still need to be adhered to.

Lars Lauridsen, landlord of The Lucombe Oak
Lars Lauridsen, landlord of The Lucombe Oak

The Lucombe Oak, Exeter

After reopening in May 2017 following a £100,000 refurbishment, owner Lars Lauridsen has succeeded in turning it back into a community pub which is suitable for all ages.

However, due to a lack of outside space at its location within St Thomas Shopping Centre, it means customers will be having to wait a bit longer before they can enjoy a pint there again.

Lars said: “Unfortunately we will not be opening on April 12. We have a small smoking area which can fit max of 16 with Covid regulations.

“It’s just not enough for me to validate opening. We will open all things being well on May 17, with correct Covid procedures in place pretty much as it was before lockdown.

The Lucombe Oak
The Lucombe Oak

“We are fortunate enough to have a large inside so when it comes to controlling measures inside we have a well drilled and controlled system.

“I think it’s good the restrictions are still in place to protect people and hopefully the majority of people will be vaccinated by the time we open with no restrictions and get back to some sort of normality in June.

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“I’m lucky enough to be in touch with a lot of my locals and see others in the precinct doing their shopping or going for walks.

“I am confident that people will come back into the pub as we are well regarded for our procedures to protect people, and most people will realise we are so close to the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The Tom Cobley Tavern at Spreyton
The Tom Cobley Tavern at Spreyton
(Image: Google)

Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton

Despite having a large garden, the award-winning family-run pub has decided to wait until May to reopen because it does not believe it will be financially viable for it to offer just outdoor seating.

Landlord Roger Cudlip said: “The main reason we are waiting until May is because of the unpredictable weather, and all the rules and regulations for us to operate means it won’t be financially viable.

“We have a huge garden with 12 to 14 tables, so we have plenty of space, but unfortunately we’ve got to have plenty of coverings. If you have to buy or rent coverings it will outweigh the price of filling the tables.

“A lot of our customers are older customers and they feel the cold. I can’t see them sitting out there in blankets, woolly hats and gloves.

“We have also not opened our accommodation here due to Covid because we don’t want strangers coming into our building so we have just left it.

“If we were at a seaside or holiday resort we would not hesitate to open because the footfall would be there. Instead we will hold off until May. Whether that is the right decision or not I don’t know, but we all want to get back to work rather than just sitting around.”

The New Inn, Coleford
The New Inn, Coleford
(Image: Google)

The New Inn, Coleford, near Crediton

The award-winning thatched 13th century village inn – which is well-known for its parrot called Captain – has announced it is waiting until May 19 at noon when it will resume its normal seven-day a week operation.

On its Facebook page it said: “I doubt many people will reflect on the last 12 months with great affection. We have experienced harrowing times but also been witness to scenes of real courage from our incredible NHS heroes, to our public services, ambulance, police, fire and the courageous people who have kept our daily lives moving.

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“Also the shop workers, food distribution staff, delivery services. So many of them are unsung heroes. We cannot thank them enough.

“Restaurants and pubs often form the heart of communities, bringing people together in a relaxed, social atmosphere and we’re delighted that the government has given the go ahead for indoor eating and drinking to reopen in May.

“We’ve been working hard over the last few months and we are excited for you to see what we have achieved.”

The Tower Inn, Slapton
(Image: The Tower Inn, Slapton)

The Tower Inn, Slapton

It has been a traumatic 12 months for the South Hams pub perhaps more than most because not only has it had to contend with dealing with the coronavirus pandemic but also a fire.

In February Devon fire crews saved the village pub from burning to the ground. However, the blaze completely destroyed the building’s kitchen.

It is not yet known when the pub will be ready to reopen.

On its Facebook page last month it said: “It is another blow to what has been a tremendously difficult past year, for all of us in hospitality.

“However, no one was seriously hurt and our beloved pub is still standing.

“We are now in the hands of officials and are not sure how quickly we will be able to reopen, hopefully before the summer season is upon us.”

It added: “Let’s hope this year starts to get a bit better from now on and we hope to see you all soon back at the Tower.”

The Angel Bar
The Angel Bar
(Image: @Bettesworths)

The Angel, Exeter

Renowned for primarily being a music venue, The Angel has announced it is not planning to reopen until June,

But when it does it says it is ready to party and is looking forward to welcoming everyone back.

In January 2020, Devon Live reported the pub in Queens Street had changed hands to a passionate local – Marc Leslie – who has been a regular at the boozer for the past 10 years.

Former owner Dicky Harrison, who ran the establishment for more than a decade, now runs The Tors in Belstone with his wife Erin.

The Hourglass, Exeter
The Hourglass, Exeter
(Image: Google)

The Hourglass, Exeter

Located just above Exeter Quay, it describes itself as being a traditional pub with character and eccentricities in abundance, with plenty of dark corners ‘suitable for trysts and plotting’.

A popular addition is the pub cat which happily sits on the bar.

In 2020, The Hourglass was listed as an Asset of Community Value by Exeter City Council.

However, the pub does not have an outdoor seating area and won’t be reopening on April 12.

In the meantime, it recently announced it has been busy collaborating with Topsham Brewery and Taproom and has been perfecting Neapolitan style pizzas as has been firing up the ovens in its horsebox at the taproom.

The Arcade, Exeter
The Arcade, Exeter
(Image: Google)

The Arcade, Exeter

There has been a pub on the location in Fore Street for 200 years. However, regulars will have to wait a bit longer before they can enjoy drinking there again.

It describes itself as a geek/gaming bar, as is Exeter’s only arcade themed bar. The cosy venue has seating for up to 20 people, pre-Covid, and a huge range of retro coin operated arcade machines and games consoles.

During lockdown the pub has been an avid supporter of the NHS and has been raising it some much needed funds.

The Exonian in Exeter
The Exonian in Exeter
(Image: Google)

The Exonian, Exeter

Customers will have to wait until May 17 for the pub to reopen as it does not have an outdoor seating area.

The informal bar in Fore Street is popular with students, sports fans and hungry customers.

It has already begun listing live sports events on its website.

Yates on Torquay harbourside was once the National Westminster Bank
Yates on Torquay harbourside was once the National Westminster Bank
(Image: Colleen Smith)

Yates, Torquay

The pub chain has confirmed it will not be reopening until May 17.

Located on Torquay’s habourside, it is one of the town’s biggest pubs. It has previously been Wetherspoon’s London Inn and an old National Westminster Bank.

In May 1991, the former NatWest was the scene of one of the most audacious attempted Oceans Eleven style bank robberies of all time – and it failed only because one key holder was five minutes late for work for the only time in his career.

Sample The Smugglers Inn's famous 'Farmers Feast Carvery' every day of the week
Sample The Smugglers Inn’s famous ‘Farmers Feast Carvery’ every day of the week

The Smugglers Inn, Dawlish

The pub, which is particularly busy during the tourist season, has confirmed its doors will stay shut until May 17.

It is one of the only restaurants in the area that provide a full lunch and evening menu alongside its famous Farmers Feast Carvery every day of the week.

The pub offers stunning panoramic views of the ocean and the surrounding countryside. It is currently offering a click and collect service for food.

Apple and Parrot, Torquay

The live music venue, which has been going since 2010 and also shows sports every day, won’t be reopening its doors for a while yet – but has announced it is now booking shows from June 21.

Devon Live