Since the lifting of lockdown restrictions, Lincoln’s hospitality scene has begun to re-emerge with new approaches to service.

Local businesses have faced many challenges during lockdown to maintain security for both staff and the businesses themselves. Photo: Flickr/Kevin Spencer. 

The recent Government COVID-19 Secure Guidelines have set out rules that businesses must adhere to but there still seems to be much confusion for customers visiting bars, restaurants, and hotels.

The guidelines include the following requirements in all establishments providing hospitality:

  • NHS Test and Trace: record keeping of visitors for 21 days.
  • Minimise risk of disease transmission, for example, by reducing contact between customers and staff.
  • Increase handwashing and surface cleaning.
  • No more than 6 guests per booking from a maximum of 2 households.

More detail on these guidelines are available here.


Local businesses have faced many challenges during lockdown to maintain security for both staff and the businesses themselves.

A video was posted on The Lincolnite’s facebook at the beginning of lockdown assuring loyal customers that Lincoln’s local food and drink scene will persist.

However, opening under unprecedented new guidelines has presented several challenges to businesses that must be overcome.

Hospitality establishments aim to be at 75% capacity, in order to make profit and sustain revenue; but with social distancing required, many bars and restaurants have had their capacity halved to maintain staff and customer safety.

We reached out to several of Lincoln’s hotels, bars, and restaurants to ask what they are doing to protect staff and customers, whilst providing an enjoyable experience for guests.


Straight & Narrow

Jez Nash, owner of Strait & Narrow and Rogue Saint, thought that 4th July was too soon to open safely.

He watched the COVID-19 situation intently and worked with health experts to work out the best way to open with staff and customer safety as a primary focus.

Strait & Narrow will reopen on 17th August, barring any significant rise in infections or further lockdowns.

In the meantime, Strait & Narrow teamed up with their favourite brands to launch a range of Bottled Strait & Narrow Cocktails.

The delivery service also offers a range of locally and nationally-sourced beers.

“We’ve spent the last 8 years getting people into these drinks, there’s no way we were going to let them down when they needed us the most,” Jez said.


The White Hart Hotel

The White Hart Hotel rose to the challenge of opening in July, making the most of their spacious bar and restaurant area.

When visiting for drinks, it is immediately clear that strict measures were in place, including: social distancing, track and trace, hand sanitising, temperature checks, and table service.

Although this was a new experience in the bar, it is still thoroughly enjoyable and the drinks and service was kept at a high standard.

“Table service seems to have been really popular with most customers and staff, giving us the opportunity to truly greet our guests and provide a much higher level of hospitality,” said Kate Knights, Assistant Bar Manager at the hotel.


One Castle Hill Patisserie

One Castle Hill Patisserie, a family-run business atop Steep Hill, initated a new confectionary delivery business, Frankie & Flossy’s, to keep up with the demand for sweet treats during lockdown.

They have now secured a contract to deliver Nottingham-base Doughnotts handmade doughnuts to residents of Lincolnshire.


The Pessimist Gin & Wine Bar

The Pessimist Gin & Wine Bar were another local business that took these challenging circumstances as an opportunity to innovate.

After visiting the bar recently, I was pleased to see that the restaurant area had been completely restructured to maximise social distancing between customers.

Owners Jo and Paul created a new regular food menu, to enhance the guest experience when visiting the bar.

The food included a variety of freshly-prepared dishes, accomodating for dietary restrictions such as customers requiring a vegan or gluten-free diet.

For Jo and Paul the past few weeks have come with several challenges, predominantly surrounding customers not showing up to bookings and a lack of adherence to the guidelines set out by the government.

No shows are a huge problem in hospitality, even before lockdown; so now, it is more important than ever to call ahead to cancel a booking, as soon as you know you won’t make it.

Hospitality establishments are being forced to take stricter measure to protect the safety of their guests and the security of their revenue.

This means that if you turn up to a restaurant 20 minutes late without notice, or with a group of people greater than 6 from multiple households, you are likely to be turned away.

Although this may cause upset to customers wishing to make the most of Eat Out to Help Out, this is a legal requirement to protect both staff and customers from risk of COVID-19.

Every venue in the local food and drink scene is dedicated to keeping its guests safe, whilst delivering an enjoyable experience for everyone.

So let’s respect the safety measures in place, enjoy the incentives and discounts, and feel free to ask staff any questions you may have, they are always happy to help.


Here is a non-exhaustive list of local businesses to visit post-lockdown:


Cafés and coffee houses:

Angel Coffee House

Bar Unico

Caffe Portico

Coffee Aroma

Coffee Bobbins


One Castle Hill


Pubs and Restaurants:

Bab to go

Brown’s Pie Shop

Cafe Shanti

Castle View

Duke William

Horse & Groom

Jolly Brewer


La Trattoria Da Vincenzo

Madame Waffle

Ole Ole Tapas Bar

Olivares Tapas Bar

Pessimist Gin & Wine Bar

Queen in the West

Royal William IV


The Botanist

The Cheese Society

The Lincoln Grille

West End Tap


Pubs and Bars:

Akēdo Gaming Bar

Electric Bar

Pessimist Gin & Wine Bar

Rogue Saint

Strait & Narrow

The Botanist

The Curiosity Shop

Vice & Co.

White Hart Hotel

One thought on “Lincoln’s food and drink scene reopening under COVID-19 guidelines”
  1. Very informative article…. Thank you! Happy to hear places are managing to stay open and will definitely be visiting!!

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