Pub invests in al fresco dining area for all weathers ahead of outdoor opening

With most pub landlords praying for good weather when beer gardens and outside dining areas re-open after lockdown, one Mirfield venue is ready for anything.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 1:00 pm
Jamie and Sarah ODonnell at the Navigation Inn, Mirfield

Pubs, bars and restaurants can re-start outside service from April 12 as lockdown restrictions ease – but the only thing they can’t control is the unpredictable British weather.

It could be sunshine, showers or snow in April but the Navigation Inn in Mirfield has invested heavily in a stunning outdoor space and is ready, whatever the weather.

The Navigation invested in a pergola and firepit last year but has now stepped up to another level completely.

Jamie and Sarah O’Donnell, who took over the licence from Jamie’s dad Kevin, are putting a glass roof over the pergola and have created two more holes in the firepit chimney to spread the heat.

They have also brought in 6ft patio heaters and giant umbrellas along with improved lighting.

The piece de resistance is a fully-functioning outside bar which boasts a beer cooler with an eight keg capacity.

The couple have thought of everything – right down to wi-fi boosters.

Jamie said the pub had more than 800 bookings for the first six or seven weeks and they were excited to get going again.

“We were only open for four months of the last 12 and we all want to get back to it,” said Jamie.

“April can go either way with the weather but it would be nice if it was like last year. But even if it’s not we think we are prepared and ready to keep everyone warm and dry.

“It’s our plan to run a beer garden 12 months of the year. We plan to serve mulled wine in winter and we’re also looking at opening from 7.30am until lunchtime to serve coffee and croissants to locals and commuters on their way to the station.”

Jamie and Sarah took over the pub in January last year in what proved to be a baptism of fire. Just weeks after taking over the pub was almost flooded in February’s storms and then in March the pandemic hit and lockdown was imposed.

“At one point we were wondering what was next – a plague of locusts! But we’ve got through it and took the opportunity to do work on the pub we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, so hopefully we’re in a good place,” said Jamie.