THE bar has been dry in pubs around Swindon since last orders were called almost three months ago.

Landlords and landladies have been forced to adapt their businesses and while some have found a way to keep their regulars happy, others are preparing for the day the government gives the green light for them to return.

Staff at The Crown in Stratton have been hosting virtual pub quizzes every weekend, Sunday lunches are being delivered by pubs such as The Moonrakers and Freke Arms and the Highworth Hotel is taking afternoon tea to its customers.

The latter's head chef Mark Kimber said: “With restrictions being lifted slightly we’ve started doing more bits and pieces.

“We do a takeaway Sunday lunch and an afternoon tea which we deliver locally. They’ve been going down really well.”

Another pub that is pulling out the stops to try and regain some business is the Brewers Arms in Wanborough.

Since the beginning of lockdown on March 20 owner Paul Studholme has conjured up inventive ways to feed locals.

One of those is a takeaway menu inspired by food from across the globe.

Paul explained: “Because people won’t be travelling this year, we’re launching a whole new menu called Eat around the World.

“We’re doing handmade pizzas, we’re famous for our pies so we’re adding more of them.

“We’re doing a homage to Brewers gone by – my parents used to run the pub and they were famous for their basket meals so we’re bringing them back in takeaway boxes.

“Then we’ve got another section called Variety is the Spice of Life. In that section we’ll have Mediterranean food, Moroccan, Jamaican and North Asia, all done street-food style.”

Paul added that once restrictions are lifted slightly – he hopes in early July – he will be able to open the pub gardens.

He said: “As soon as Boris Johnson gives us the green light people can come and get a takeaway and take it to one of our tables in the garden. This will stop them from coming into the pub and then we’ll serve beer, wine or whatever.

“We’re a really big outdoors pub, so we’re lucky.”

Paul says he will even be accepting euros in a bid to attract trade.

He explained: “People will have loads of euros left over that they won’t be able to spend abroad so we’ll accept those as well.”

At The Kingsdown in Upper Stratton, meanwhile, staff have been preparing the pub for a future that is set to include social distancing.

When the prime minister allows pubs to reopen it will most likely be those that have large outdoor areas that will be the first to benefit.

In response to the news the government was in the process of easing restrictions, Wetherspoons detailed how its pubs would look following the guidelines. There are three in Swindon.

All Wetherspoons pubs will have two full-time staff members who will regularly clean surfaces and touchpoints.

Screens will be introduced at the tills between staff and customers, as well as creating social-distanced seating areas.

The company says it will provide all staff with gloves, masks and protective eyewear but it will be up to employees if they choose to wear them.

Pubs will also use one door for entry and another for the exit where possible and customers are asked to use the mobile order and pay app at the bar, using a card. Cash will still be accepted.

The menu at all Wetherspoons locations will be reduced and condiment sachets will be provided, rather than bottles.