Seven Merseyside hospitality responses to Covid-19 restrictions

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It has been a turbulent year for Liverpool’s hospitality industry with pubs, bars, and restaurants arguably closed more than they’ve been open in 2020.

The sector has been hit hard with Tier 3 restrictions imposing the 10pm curfew placed on Merseyside watering holes as well as small independent locals having to navigate the substantial meal rule in order to stay afloat.

One thing that has not waivered is the optimism and resilience of these pubs and bars in the wake of the various restrictions. Despite many local favourites not surviving the difficult year, others have smiled in the face of adversity and responded to the pandemic with humour. Meanwhile some have responded by helping those who need it most.

Read on for JMU Journalism’s magnificent 7 times Merseyside hospitality businesses have had amazing responses to lockdown rules:

  1. The Merchant – 3D printing PPE

Credit: Martin Waters

Back in the first lockdown over summer local favourite for all our gin and pizza needs, The Merchant, invested in six 3D printing machines to make visors to donate to Liverpool hospitals and NHS staff working on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus.

The Merchant, as well as sister venues Circus, Chibuku, and ENRG, helped spread the word via social media and also started a crowdfunding page which has reached over £18,000.

Brand owner, Rich McGinnis, explained the process behind the successful campaign: “We noticed local Liverpool lad Paul Heneghan had started out with one printer and making some trial pieces so we decided to join forces to help buy more printers, provide more space for production and assembly and use the reach of our collective social media to get the word out.”

  1. Aintree Gin – From drinks to disinfectant

Credit: @aintreegin

Organic gin company, Aintree Gin, changed its distillery earlier this year to start producing hand sanitiser for NHS workers, and even opened a pop-up PPE shop from the success off the back of their disinfecting products.

Aintree Gin have donated over 500 litres of sanitiser so far to local hospitals, care homes, hospices, and wherever sanitiser and disinfecting products were in short supply.

Operations manager, Alan Carley, explained how they put raw materials to use that would have otherwise been wasted. He said: “We had excessive stocks of ethanol (pure alcohol) normally used as a base ingredient to make our gin, so we figured out that we could help and make the maximum impact by addressing the nationwide shortage of hand sanitiser.”


  1. “The Three Bellends” – Controversial name change

A New Brighton pub gained huge interest on social media after changing its name and branding to “The Three Bellends”.

The pub replaced its logo with a picture depicting Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, and Matt Hancock sporting bells on their heads in a response to the government placing the Merseyside region under Tier 3 restrictions.

The pub, formerly The James Atherton, gained praise from fans on social media and was inundated with tweets of support.

  1. Shenanigans pub – Going green with bottle cooler face masks

Irish pub Shenanigan’s have explored ways to reuse their bottle coolers as facemasks.

The pub has previously shown their love of being eco-friendly, using solar panels and water tanks to collect and heat hot water.

Shenanigans even utilises ash from their fire and coffee grounds for soil to grow herbs that are used in their on-site kitchen. Is there anything this pub can’t reuse or recycle?!

  1. La’go Seel St. – A sign of the times 

Credit: La’go

Student favourite La’go on Seel Street is known for its cheap drinks, good music, and quirky décor with cheeky statements featured on a giant light box sign.

La’go hasn’t disappointed through coronavirus restrictions and has continued to provide some humour with its tongue-in-cheek quotes giving fans a laugh through these difficult times.


  1. Red Door – Catering to change with a new food menu

Local favourite Red Door has made drastic changes in order to adapt to the government’s “substantial meal” rule and to ensure their success continues through the tighter restrictions.

Despite a second local lockdown causing the bar to close completely, owner Lee Lynch has hinted to fans on social media about the arrival of a red door food menu.

There’s no doubt we’ll be trying out some of Red Door’s dishes as soon as we can!

  1. Aintree Gin- A day to remember with free drinks for wedding receptions 

Aintree Gin have once again worn their hearts on their sleeves by offering free drinks to couples who have had their wedding plans disrupted by COVID-19.

The gin distillery announced the generous decision at the start of October saying couples should contact them to supply their wedding receptions with a selection of their organic gin.

Aintree Gin’s Sean Roche said: “We’re proud to help the people of Liverpool and want to do so wherever we can. We’re now  inviting people who are getting married to come forward to claim their free drinks so we can help them have a day to remember, despite the challenging circumstances.”

Which one is your favourite? Let us know at our sister title Liverpool Life on Twitter and Instagram! (@LivLifeMagazine)

About Isabelle Cairns, JMU Journalism