'There was a real buzz around Wakefield as the city came alive again' - this is what it looked like when shops and pubs reopened

There was a ‘buzz’ around the city on the reopening day that everyone was waiting for.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 1:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th April 2021, 1:46 pm
Outside Harry's Bar

That was the word used by many traders who were able to return on April 12.

The importance of getting back to work and getting the city back to normality wasn’t lost on anyone.

On Monday morning it took no time at all for queues to form outside shops and barbers.

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Outside at the Black Horse

People sat out in the Bullring and Cross Square with their coffees and later pub beer gardens started to fill.

Layla Baker reopened the outside of her bar, Lobby 1867, on Westgate.

She said: “Over the weekend there were lots of people cleaning their shop frontages, wiping their front steps and watering plants – it was the city coming to life again.”

At Harry’s Bar just off Westgate a big and new outside area has “doubled” the size of the pub.

Lisa de Cernatony cuts hair at Kraft Barbers

Landlady Louise Waters said it wouldn’t have been worth reopening without it.

On Monday she drafted in her daughter Emily to help out before more staff arrived for the evening.

She ushered visitors to newly numbered tables on the outside decking and to the track and trace station by the entrance.

Pints of ale were rapidly delivered on black trays as Louise manned the pumps.

But she admitted she was looking forward to the pub regaining it’s old, traditional atmosphere when more rules are relaxed.

She said: “In a pub people are supposed to come in to the hustle and bustle at the bar, and can they speak to people, mingle, and move around.

“As it stands it’s nice having everyone back and seeing everyone enjoy themselves but I think we’re all craving that real pub experience where you can get a pint and go off an drink it yourself without being told to put a mask on or sign in and check in.

“But it’s enabled us to get open so I suppose it’s for now it’s better than nothing.

Tony Padgett, landlord of the Black Horse said Wakefield felt a bit like its old self. He said: “For pubs, hairdressers, tattoo artists and beauticians it’s D-Day.

“Before that the city centre has been dead. I’ve lived in Wakefield almost all my life and never known it as quiet as it’s been the past 12 months.

“It’ll be good to see Wakefield full again - to hear laughter and music coming out of the pubs, and be back to the Merrie City as we were once known.

“It’s all hands on deck at the moment and I hope we’ve made it to the other side.”

Kraft Barbers and Kraft Koffee on Wood Street were among the businesses to take advantage of Monday’s changes.

Other businesses were opening for the first time.

Samantha Maries and her partner Jack Mallinson opened their new business, Geek Retreat, for the first time on Monday.

It is currently serving drinks but as lockdown restrictions ease further, it will expand to function as a board game cafe, comic book retailer and, eventually, host of events.

And a new boutique is hoping to introduce a dash of glamour and glitz to the city centre.

Secret Chambers, which is tucked in the corner of Wood Street and Cross Street, offers custom branded makeup and clothes.