REVELLERS toasted to the first signs of freedom with a pint at pubs around the city.

Drinkers and diners were in a celebratory mood as lockdown restrictions were eased and pubs opened their doors to customers for the first time this year.

Mark Such, general manager at the King and Queen in Marlborough Place, Brighton, said that despite having the largest pub in the city, he could not keep up with demand.

The Argus: Ye Olde King and Queen in BrightonYe Olde King and Queen in Brighton

He told The Argus: “It is nice to say I could have fit the pub in five times more.

“The courtyard was full for the whole day which was really nice.

“We were very busy and we had to have a very sensible and organised queue out the front with distancing in place, but we couldn’t possibly fit everyone who wanted to come in.

“But everybody was in a lovely fun mood and we had no issues whatsoever. Everyone stuck to the rules. Support from the community was brilliant.”

The snow and freezing temperature did not deter customers, who were determined to enjoy their first pint in over three months.

Mark said: “I said to one customer ‘you didn’t touch your cappuccino’ and he said, ‘I didn’t buy it to drink it, I bought it to warm my hands up’, which I thought was brilliant.”

The Hand in Hand in Upper St James’s Street Brighton, opened its new outdoor seating area.

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Landlady Jen Left said: “Everyone was really happy to be back.

“I think I was just a little bit shellshocked because being around so many people after months off felt very strange.

“But everyone was really lovely, so it was all really positive. I think this time round people want to socialise and see their friends because this lockdown has felt like a long, hard slog.”

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Staff at Hove Place in First Avenue fired up the outdoor heaters to make sure all the customers who had pre-booked at table in their Italian Gardens were kept warm.

Martin Cotton, manager at Hove Place said: “We’re very busy for the foreseeable and our weekends are completely booked up for the next few weeks.

“It was a very smooth day which we are all very happy about and customers were great.”

Dan Ponting, general manager at the Blind Busker in Church Road, Hove said he was pleased to see a mixture of new faces and regulars in the beer garden.

“It went really well and it was steady throughout the day which was really good,” Dan said.

“Everyone was really happy to be back at work and doing the things that we have been wanting to do for the last few months.”

Clearly, low temperatures were not enough to deter people from getting out to socialise with friends and family.

The next easing of lockdown restrictions is set to take place on May 17 at the earliest.