Ramble Inn Gets Set For Reopening

Table service seen as the way forward for independent pub in Tooting

Picture: The Ramble Inn

June 23, 2020

The owner of a well-loved independent pub in Tooting has welcomed the Government’s announcement on the reopening of pubs from 4 July.

James (Jimmy) Crowe, landlord of the Ramble Inn, said he was pleased to be able to reopen further, after operating as a takeaway service since the end of May.

He said: “It’s very welcome news, it would have been better on July 6 because then it would have been a Monday and people would ease themselves into it. I just think on Saturday the pubs are going to be really packed, everyone hasn’t drunk for three months and will want to come in.

“But it won’t be a problem for us. The first thing will be the safety of the staff and the customers.”

This Tuesday (24 June), the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said pubs will be allowed to serve customers indoors but this must be limited to table service.

“Other pubs I think will struggle in the area, but we are well known for our table service,” said Jimmy.

“Always have been for the past 22 years. Our bar staff don’t just hang about behind the bar, they always take drinks to the table, and bring glasses back. When people come to us, they expect the table service. So that will continue the way it is. We don’t do food, so that will continue the same as well.”

Social distancing already in place for take out sales. Picture: The Ramble Inn
Social distancing already in place for take out sales. Picture: The Ramble Inn

Pubs will also be asked to record customers’ contact details for tracing purposes in the case of a local outbreak, which Jimmy said was “doable” especially once more advice is provided by the Government.

He said he was particularly relieved to hear about the relaxing of the two metre distancing rule to ‘one metre plus’ which will ask people to remain two metres apart where feasible and take extra precautions such as avoiding face-to-face seating or wearing masks at one metre.

He said: “The move to one metre is ideal, it means you will be able to function financially. On the two-metre rule you couldn’t, it wouldn’t have paid to be open.

“I reckon that we should be able to accommodate in the region of 60 people comfortably, that would be using the outside back of the area as well.”

Overall Jimmy said he was “happy” with the new advice.

“Health and safety has got to come primarily in here, so we’ll all have to just change our rules a bit and accommodate the rules our government is saying and what the scientists are advising.

“We’ve put out markers telling people where they can sit and where they can’t. Staff will be masked up, they will be gloved, there will be sanitiser and we will monitor the toilets a lot more. There will be more cleaning involved. There will be more expense involved with sanitisers, PPE equipment and cleaning of the toilet.

“If that’s the rules set out, we have got to work within them. But we do need to get the economy back, desperately,” he said.

The Ramble Inn partially reopened as a takeaway service on May 29 serving limited draught beers and bottles.

“The thing was we were getting a lot of calls from friends and customers, especially the elderly ones, and we had a lot of paramedics and nurses from St George’s as regulars.

“They were getting in touch with us via Twitter or Instagram or calling me and asking if we were thinking of doing a takeaway service like some of the other pubs. With the amount of calls we got we decided to go for it,” he said.

The pub is currently open for takeaway Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm to 9pm, Friday 4pm to 9pm, Saturday 2pm to 9pm and Sunday 2pm to 8pm.

Sian Bayley -Local Democracy reporter