Last orders in Greater Manchester as pubs close for last time before Tier 3

It was last orders at The Smithfield Tavern in the Northern Quarter as the final pints were pulled before Tier 3 restrictions come into force.

The pub is one of a number of venues around the region forced to close their doors if they don’t serve ‘substantial meals’ with their drinks.

It’s thought that around 2,000 of Greater Manchester’s venues will be affected by the new rules, which come into play at 00.01am on Friday.

It is unclear how long the thousands of ‘wet pubs’ will stay closed for.

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The Smithfield has been selling its cask beers on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis until last orders.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News tonight, the owner of the Smithfield, Jon Hartley, said “ringing the bell was like the death knell of the industry”.

The Crown and Kettle
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

He added: “It’s 9.15pm on a Thursday night, who would have thought that?”

A few merry friends began hugging and having a sing song just before 10pm, but other than that it’s been a quiet evening at the bar.

Tier 3 comes into force at 00.01am
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

The last weekend was the quietest it has been since the pub reopened.

Now the brewery will be launching a delivery service after it closes, selling cask beers in either five or 10-litre boxes.

A worker packs away benches
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Meanwhile at Noho in Stevenson Square, they began packing away at 9pm.

A number of pubs slashed their prices tonight to avoid having to pour their stock down the drain.

Quiet scenes on the streets of the city centre tonight

The Swan Street pub Bar Fringe sold its cask ales for just £2 a pint, while Port Street Beer House slashed its prices in half, with cask from as little as £1.75 a pint.

It’s been a tough week for publicans, but there was some good news today as Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced more support for the sector.

Venues operating in Tier 2 areas will get extra funding.

Manchester quietly says farewell to Tier 2 restrictions as Tier 3 comes into force

Payments will be backdated for places such as Greater Manchester which have been living with tighter restrictions for months.

Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, tweeted: “Whilst any financial support is welcome, for many in Greater Manchester this is too little, far too late. Just before 10pm tonight, the Chancellor will call last orders on many of our pubs and bars, for good. The whole supply chain forgotten, ignored and hung out to dry.”

Chief executive of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Tom Stainer, welcomed the news.

The Smithfield Tavern
(Image: Steven Sibbald)

He said: “Pubs in areas under Tier 2 restrictions felt like they had the worst of all worlds, with additional restrictions reducing trade further but without receiving additional support – so these new financial support packages, which CAMRA had called for, will be warmly welcomed by the beer and pubs sector.

“New funds for councils to issue grants for pubs and hospitality businesses, together with reducing the contributions businesses have to pay towards staff wages, will give pubs in areas with high and very high restrictions a much better chance of surviving.  

“We hope that the Government will now encourage all local councils to use the 5 per cent of additional discretionary funding available to make sure that breweries and cider makers receive grants and the financial support they need to cope with reduced trade.

“But we are not out of the woods yet. The Chancellor must look at a long-term package of financial support covering pubs and brewers in all tiers to help them cope with reduced trade and knocked consumer confidence from measures like the 10pm curfew.

“This would make sure we avoid permanent mass pub closures and keep our locals, which are at the heart of our communities, open and alive through the difficult weeks and months ahead.”

Manchester Evening News