The rain was pouring down but the prospect of a summer outdoors won the support of many who gathered in Dublin last night.
UBS, hotels and restaurants are poised to rebound and look forward to another summer outdoors as a law allowing customers to drink outside of licensed premises on the street is set to be extended.
Even in wet conditions, many people ate and drank under sheltered outdoor areas on South William Street.
This was an area where some huge crowds gathered outside last summer and some reports of anti-social behavior surfaced. It came at a time when the hospitality industry was hit by Covid restrictions and many people were drinking in the streets.
Last night, with the pub and restaurant trade back in full swing, people were confident in enjoying al fresco dining and drinking in a more controlled environment.
Ellie Mortimer, 22, was with her colleagues from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in the popular outdoor area of the Pygmalion Bar celebrating her fashion design degree.
“This is fantastic news,” Ellie said. “There is an aura to having a drink or something to eat outside. We just finished college and this was the first place we wanted to come to. Outside is a much better place to socialize.”
Ellie and her friends spotted Monaghan NCAD student Caolan O’Mairtin, 23, walking by and invited him for a drink.
“That’s what being Irish is all about,” said the graphic design student. “The group invited me because they know me from college. You just saw me walking by and now I’m here and we’re having a great time. You wouldn’t have seen me inside.”
Mother and daughter Nicole and Anne Ryan, of Navan, Co. Meath, were also outside at the People Watching bar.
“We prefer to be outside as you get the hustle and bustle of the city so it’s great that this is being extended.”
Counselor Anne said she has witnessed in her field how much the Irish have loved being outdoors since the pandemic.
“It seems good how people are feeling,” she said. “I mean, we’re outside despite the rain. It’s okay if you’re protected.”
However, some businessmen in the area still remember last summer’s anti-social behavior.
Vio Toma, the 32-year-old manager of fish restaurant Sole, said: “I’m not sure about drinking outdoors. There was so much anti-social behavior last summer.
“But on the road everything has been fine since reopening, so that really depends on how this is managed. If it is controlled, it will be positive.”
Trafford Brotherton, manager of Dakota at South William Street, said he felt the longer time outdoors was “a positive”.
“I think we learned from last year,” he added. “I’ve been to Manchester recently and a lot of places are applying for outdoor extensions so I think that’s where we’ll be going in the long term.”
Hotel staff Claudia Oniceanu, 32, from Sandyford, and Aslin Candle, 31, from Dún Laoghaire agreed that they prefer to eat and drink outside and that the rain did not deter them, provided they had shelter.
“We work in hospitality,” Claudia said. “Believe me, a lot of people still want to be outside.
“They feel safer as Covid hasn’t gone away.
“The outdoor option is particularly important for the elderly, many are still very cautious and for anyone with underlying medical conditions.
“We prefer to be outdoors because it’s a nicer feeling, you can see the city and we feel safe.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/al-fresco-summer-there-is-an-aura-having-drinks-or-eating-outside-even-if-its-raining-41660546.html Summer outdoors: “It’s an aura to have a drink or something to eat outside – even if it’s raining”