Pubs across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are getting ready to reopen on the proposed date of April 12.
But it will only be pubs with the luxury of a beer garden allowed to welcome back customers in the first instance.
StokeonTrentLive has been taking a look at the best beer gardens across the county that you will be able to pop in for a pint when lockdown restrictions lift.
There were just under four months at the end of summer 2020 where people were able to visit their local pub, but venues have remained closed since November’s second national lockdown.
On Monday, February 22, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his roadmap out of lockdown, which would hopefully see outdoor seating at pubs permitted to open from April 12, followed by a full reopening in May.
Here are 11 beer gardens to visit when lockdown lifts:
The Swan, Stone
If you are a lover of real ale then this is definitely the place to be! The Swan, built in 1771, were winners of the Heart of Staffordshire branch CAMRA urban pub of the year 2015, 2010 and again in 2003 – with over 600 breweries having been represented on the pumps in the past 15 years.
Set in a Grade II listed building near the canal, you can enjoy a pork pie or a sausage roll in their beer garden, where they usually hold their summer beer festival.
The Star, Stone
You can’t get any closer to the canal than with The Star in Stone as it sits right at the point of one of the locks.
The pub is already getting ready to see customers return in April, and wrote on social media: “All being well we will be welcoming you all back in April to our beer garden!”
Sit outdoors at the canalside and watch the boats as they navigate the lock. There is a real friendly feeling about this place and a great choice of ale too.
Plume of Feathers, Barlaston
The Plume of Feathers is a pub venture in association with Staffordshire actor Neil Morrissey who has his own beers and ales.
Situated next to the canal and overlooking a bowling green, children and dogs are welcome.
Red Bull, Church Lawton
This is a real traditional pub alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal with a large lockside beer garden. There’s a great selection of cask, draught and bottled beers.
The Red Bull underwent a major refurbishment in 2019, but few customers were able to enjoy the new-look pub before the country was plunged into lockdown.
The country pub is popular with dog walkers and boaters, with a beer garden to the rear overlooking the canal on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border.
The Roaring Meg, Biddulph
The Roaring Meg is a great place to stop off for a drink with your dog after a walk around Biddulph Grange Country Park. Dogs are allowed in the beer garden at the front of the pub.
Throughout lockdown, the pub – affectionately known as The Meg – launched a popular takeaway menu and virtual pub quiz.
The Blue Bell Inn, Kidsgrove
Built in 1836, the pub has fostered a real community spirit at The Blue Bell Inn.
It offers six continuously rotating cask ale pumps, draught beers, ciders and stouts so that every day feels like a beer festival.
Situated by the Trent and Mersey canal, the pub has a brilliant beer garden to while the day away.
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The Holy Inadequate, Etruria
The Holy Inadequate saw the pandemic as an opportunity to revamp the pub.
The Etruria-based venue has had brand new toilets as well as new tiled walls, hardwood floors and a new-look cellar, with work continuing to extend the on-site brewery.
One Trip Advisor reviewer dubbed it ‘the best pub in the Potteries’, whilst another said: “The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. A nice beer garden out back. Offers a small choice of simple food (pork pies etc). A real hidden gem!”
The Roebuck, Leek
Built in 1626, this Titanic Brewery venue is full of charm in the market town of Leek.
During lockdown, the team cooked over 1,000 meals for those in need in Leek, as well as painted most of the pub.
The dog-friendly pub has 13 cask ale pumps across the bar, with stacks of craft beer in their outdoor Hop Yard. They also won the Taste of Staffordshire 2018 Pub of the Year Award.
The Huntsman, Cheadle
The Huntsman, at Cheadle, offers a beer garden and outdoor children’s play area to the rear.
The Staffordshire pub has been recognised for its variety of Real Ales and excellent quality home-cooked food at affordable prices. In 2013, The Huntsman was named CAMRA Pub of the Year, and listed as one of the top 10 potteries pubs for Real Ale.
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The Hollybush, Seighford
This 17th century pub was originally a dwelling and early beer house near Stafford.
The pub has been redecorated during lockdown, with the toilets being ‘totally redesigned’.
Tables in the beer garden have been spaced out to allow for social distancing, and dogs are also allowed in the outside area.
Artisan Tap, Hartshill
Popular for its craft and cask beers, as well as gin and cocktails, the Artisan Tap is a real hidden gem in Staffordshire.
It has a large outside area that’s often beautifully decorated with floral displays, ideal for Al Fresco dining or lounging with a tipple.
The CAMRA club named it Potteries Pub of the Month January 2019, anf 6 Towns Radio listed it Pub of the Year.