For the loyal customers of a Barrow pub that is the local for hundreds of residents, the wait was worth it.

The Strawberry on Abbey Road, one of the most prominent establishments in the town, was finally able to reopen its doors last Monday, just over three weeks after many of its competitors had been able to do likewise.

Due to some of the tight spaces in the pub, one of three in Barrow that are owned by Greene King, it wasn't possible to guarantee social distancing at first, but this thankfully changed with the introduction of the 'one metre plus' guideline.

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Thanks to Greene King's 'Safe Pub' scheme, the place known to many as 'The 'Berry' is now serving again and has even come back with a new look to its 'courtyard' area.

Landlord Sean Nealey said: "Greene King were very good with us and very strong with their communication.

"Each of our pubs, as well as making people feel welcome, needs to keep them safe as well and that goes for the team as well.

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"We've lost a lot of tables inside, due to capacity restrictions, as everything is a metre plus at the moment.

"Obviously, we've had to disappoint a few guests because we can't accommodate as much as we used to, but saying that it has given us more scope to use our outside areas, which have had a bit of work done."

That includes more seating being put in place and setting up a new, covered non-smoking area in the pub's sizeable beer garden, a relic of the days when the building was a coach house with stables to the rear.

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Mr Nealey has travelled the country while working for Greene King and has been running The Stawberry for the last 18 months, meaning lockdown came relatively early in his tenure compared to some other landlords in the area.

He has kept together a close-knit team of bar staff, with Jay, Katie, Chaz, Andy, James, Rebecca, David, Ella, Shawn, Aaron and Dawn all working hard to keep guests happy.

The pub has been able to get back to serving food daily from midday, with its varied menu offering starters such as nachos and chicken buckets.

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Several different burgers are also available, as are steaks and pub favourites such as fish and chips to steak and ale pie, while there vegan and gluten-free menus.

The pub has a dominoes team and has long been a popular venue for sports fans, who have often been glued to the TV screens around the place.

At present, The 'Berry has no plans for live entertainment in the near future due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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However, it will soon be bringing back weekly activities such as 'kids eat for £1,' buy one get one free on burgers, it's weekly quiz and 'Fizz Friday.'

On how everyone has coped since reopening, Mr Nealey said: "We came back two weeks prior, getting everything in place and discussing new ways or working and getting training up to date."