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Book ahead for a pint and some grub - don't just walk in

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Sarah Gleeson in Gleesons Bar and Bistro wearing PPE

Sarah Gleeson in Gleesons Bar and Bistro wearing PPE

Sarah Gleeson in Gleesons Bar and Bistro wearing PPE

The days of impulse dining out and drinking at the bar are over and short burst trips out will normally be booked ahead.

From Monday, going to the pub or restaurant is set to be a very different experience from heady pre-Covid days.

Phone, app and online bookings will be the preferred route to get in the door.

The Vintners' Federation of Ireland said every pub will use its own "approach" on bookings, but there will also "remain" the option to "walk-in."

However, the Herald found some bars are set to ask last-minute customers to go for a walk while they wait for a space at a table.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland said the "vast majority" of restaurants are "moving to online pre-bookings through their websites, while people can book over the phone too".

Across the country, a large number of customers are already phoning ahead to book and are using the calls to ask questions about procedures during Covid-19.

Delighted

Others are using online booking forms, emails and apps.

Elaine Murphy, who runs five restaurants including The Winding Stair, the neighbouring Woollen Mills and the Legal Eagle in Dublin city, said staff were "delighted" to be back in business.

"It's amazing to be opening again as hospitality is a really emotional business and everyone missed it," Ms Murphy said.

She added that, ideally, customers should book over the phone or online via the website, or via OpenTable.

"We will accommodate walk-ins if we have availability at that time but it's better to book to avoid a wait or disappointment," she added.

The outdoor eating area at the Woollen Mills is already heavily booked for the weekend after opening.

"I'm excited," Ms Murphy said.

"Things have been difficult but it will be great to see people back and we will make sure everything is very safe, but it's important to keep that sense of conviviality."

Gary Long, general manager of the Legal Eagle, said: "We're recommending people book but we will take walk-ins if there's space.

"But you won't be able to just walk in and sit down."