| 16.2°C Belfast

Close

Premium

Here's what to expect when bars reopen ... No live music, no dancing, no standing at the bar, no mingling and basically, no craic

Covid-19 restrictions will make our pubs more like bars on the continent, with table service, no live music and little banter with strangers. It will take some getting used to, writes Karen McHugh in Brussels

Close

A more sedate tipple: Karen McHugh enjoying a drink in a Belgian bar

A more sedate tipple: Karen McHugh enjoying a drink in a Belgian bar

A more sedate tipple: Karen McHugh enjoying a drink in a Belgian bar

When I saw the new restrictions announced for pubs last month, I didn't flinch. In fact, it sounded all too familiar. I knew instantly what this situation would be like.

Because what may seem like a nightmare to us Irish is just a normal night out where I live, in Belgium. What will be the absolute paring back of our culture is essentially normal pub life in many European countries.

It now seems as if 40pc of pubs in Ireland will open on June 29 as sit-down restaurants. In essence, that's what a pub is in many parts of Europe. Now, we may be part of the EU, but we're not culturally very European. When it comes to socialising, we have very different habits from our continental friends. Will these new restrictions finally make real Europeans of us?