POST-LOCKDOWN life tasted sweet for many across the district as pubs and bars reopened as part of the gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Hospitality venues across the country can now serve customers outdoors as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-phase roadmap.

And ‘Magic Monday’ was a day punters and publicans alike had longed for and saw customers return for their first pub-poured pint in months.

In Prudhoe, Claire Hepple-Brooks and family opened their beer garden for the first time after taking over the popular Dr Syntax pub.

Customers included friends Jim McCue and Brian Lawson, who were delighted to meet up for a drink at their local having not seen each other throughout lockdown.

In Hexham, manager of the Grapes Hotel Carla Rowley was delighted to be back behind the bar. She said: “Everyone is pleased to be back and we are pleased to have them back. We’re pretty much fully booked!”

Sam Jackson, of the Brew Bar, in Haltwhistle, described how familiar faces were enjoying their new freedoms. He said: “It’s kind of like we’ve never been shut! It shows a lot of loyalty in the town of Haltwhistle. We couldn’t hope for a better day.

“People have been good with the rules – they understand. I appreciate that because it makes our jobs a lot easier too.”

It comes after charity Age UK has warned older drinkers without smartphones are at risk of discrimination in pubs.

David Walters (78) told the Telegraph that ordering drinks and food via a phone app was “ageist” after he was reportedly denied service at The Angel of Corbridge.

Pub owner Kevin Laing said the app was a temporary measure and that staff were “just doing the best we could at the time, and following the advice and guidelines to try and keep guests and staff safe”.

The Blackbird Ponteland also opened to much fanfare.