One of the foremost establishments in Walney was finally able to open its doors again last weekend.

The building has stood since 1904, but it would have been a long three-and-a-half months for its regulars, who won’t have been able to enjoy a pint or tuck into its freshly prepared food.

Like everywhere else, though, the King Alfred has had to adapt following the easing of the lockdown, with social distancing measures still in place.

The Mail:

The stools have had to be removed from around the bar, while tables have needed to be moved further away from each other and screens put up above the tills to protect staff and customers.

The public house originally opened 116 years ago by Earl Grey as the ‘HMS King Alfred,’ named after a first of class warship that had been constructed by Vickers a few years previously.

The Ocean Road venue was for a time known as the Indian Kitchen, but it stood empty for ten months before it was restored to its old moniker when it was purchased by the Mulgrew family in November 2015 and extensively renovated.

The Mail:

Its return was a welcome one for the people of Walney - and for bar staff Sean, Adam, Joanne, Melissa and Rachel - but thankfully things didn’t get too out of hand during its grand reopening last Saturday.

Landlady Joanne Mulgrew said: “It wasn’t as crazy as we thought it would be, but there was a nice number of people. It was just nice to open the doors again, really.

“You were able to see people who you hadn’t seen for over three months.”

What many who came through the doors would have been looking forward to is to sample the menu again, which offers traditional pub food, while the management are hoping to bring back Sunday roasts and their ‘Fizzy Friday’ buffet soon.

While the weather hasn’t been the best recently, punters will look forward to be able to use the beer garden to one side of the building.

The Mail:

However, the green that is played up by the King Alfred Bowling Club hasn’t been the social hub it usually is due to the coronavirus pandemic preventing a proper season taking place this year.

The outbreak has been the toughest challenge Michael and Joanne Mulgrew have had to face during their time in the industry, but they have enjoyed being able to chat with regulars again, even though reopening has brought the return of working unsociable hours.

As things slowly get back to normal, it is hoped live entertainment can be reintroduced to the King Alfred at some point, as well as the theme nights, which were a particular highlight.

The Mail:

Joanne Mulgrew said: “We had a Spanish night where we put live music on, put tapas on the menu and people could book a table and get dressed up in traditional Spanish clothes.

“Not everyone got dressed up, but it was a great night and the atmosphere was really good.”