A few thoughts on the New Normal for pubs, and where better to see it yesterday than in Blyth Spoons.

I was always going to start back at Spoons after seeing these tweets;


And those were the nice ones.

Classic Spoons architecture

This was re-opening day, of course, so you might not get the queues on your visit, but if you do follow the directions, just like the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz.

They hadn’t travelled as far as me.

I captured the big moment on video for you, it makes a difference from clips of karaoke in New Brighton.

Please note I can’t guarantee seagulls on your visit, but I bet the welcome will be as cheerful as here. Just don’t hug them when you say “Welcome back“.

No pre-booking of tables necessary, just turn up.  I believe you should only have to book your driving lesson and your wedding, so it works for me.

Listen to or read the guidelines,



wash your hands and follow the arrows to the well-spaced tables and cubicles, choosing the one furthest away from the old wheezing woman.


Then order from your table on the App.


Well, actually the app wasn’t working, everything on the menu was unavailable, so a queue it was.


Like a children’s TV show hosted by Stu Francis in the 80s (ask Si) you have to stand in the circle or get told off.

I got told off, in a Geordie lilt. I’m always told off in pubs anyway.

It wasn’t busy, 16 in at 8.30, not a lot more when the alcohol licence clicked in.

Lovely Spoons by the way.

Spoons art

Lovely staff, too, explaining patiently the individualised condiments and the acceptance of CAMRA vouchers.

Great news

Plenty of space, and nice to see a few gentlefolk popping in to read the Blyth Bugle already.

Old Boy back

Then, at 8.59, a mini surge to the bar.

The lady in front of me was ALMOST as excited as I was by the reduced cask range (Doom Bar and GK from memory).

New style

The staff served behind their perspex screens, I didn’t ask for tasters (or top-ups),

Looks fine to me

and all was well with the world.

If there was carnage later, it wasn’t me.

I asked to fill in the Test and Trace form, the staff seemed surprised, but I love filling in forms.

59p a minute advice on pubbing

Great to have you back Spoons, even if that makes me a ****.


  1. What a nice write up.

    We have to wait a little longer for pubs to open in Wales.

    It’s generous of spoons to extend the voucher expiry dates.


    1. Scott,
      Very sadly mobility scooter drivers are said to be especially vulnerable to coronavirus.


      1. I imagine that is likely to depend on the reason why they are in the mobility scooter. I also imagine that there are going to be a fair number of the vulnerable who are going to decide that they have so little lifespan left that they are going to enjoy what they have and not merely exist.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve got letters from Tim – including two signed by him, one in his spidery handwriting – that I could donate to the museum.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, you’ve selected some of the more polite tweets there.

    I’ve been to Spoons this lunchtime. You have to work out the system, but it’s fine once you have. The little pencils to fill in the forms are a nice touch, to allay concerns about the multiple handling of pens.

    I think the partitions improve it by breaking up the wide open spaces.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post: judgemental tosh on Twitter from people who wouldn’t go to spoons anyway I guess.
    Enough about them and great to see some magnificent lacings, social distancing bring observed and some very nice people back at work 🍺👍

    Liked by 4 people

  4. As I said on LAF’s blog, I’m so glad I don’t have a Twitter account!

    That aside, it seems that Wetherspoon’s have got it right with the measures they have put in place. Despite my antipathy towards the chain, I really wouldn’t have expected anything less – so all credit to them.


    1. As I just said, you’re not daft to avoid Twitter. Same applies to your namesake in Stafford !

      Hard to judge Spoons on one 9am visit, though no less than the sensible Ben Wilkinson on CAMRA National Executive also reported positively from Spoons on Saturday.

      The outdoor area in Blyth wasn’t much cop though, and I’m certainly not keen to overstay my indoor visits to pubs.


  5. That footpath photo with the distancing markers me me think of a gritty version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame – (for some bizarre reason that I can’t explain…)

    Just a guess but it looks like those 3 lads had been the first in the barbers…

    Your premium rate pub advice number is a great idea – you’ll be well on the way to your first million by Christmas (although a lot of calls may be from NHS Test and Trace) which will then need another cash injection from the government…;)

    …good that you didn’t need to feel guilty about nicking the pencil though… 🙂


  6. I used to have a bolthole walking distance from Sawley, in Long Eaton, for about fifteen years, LAF, so I enjoyed reading about what I’ve given up.

    I see that the Steamboat sign still, or again, says “live music”. They used to have a folk club in the 1970s, in a basement room, but I always felt a bit too close to a “Kumbaya” there for comfort, and I’m wasn’t too keen on the aroma of oiled Arran sweaters either, as things went in those days.


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