After several months of pubs and restaurants being closed due to coronavirus, England is finally able to enjoy a nice meal or drink indoors. This is how it felt to return to a sense of normality.
It was November 4 and we were still at the beginning of our first year: we had had no exams, no deadlines, no full-on academic pressure. We were still freshers. At a Christmas party. On a random Wednesday in November.
But what we did not know was that the second national lockdown that was due to begin in just a few hours was going to turn into a six-month-long indoor-hospitality-free period (at least for Nottingham).
And here we were again, on a Wednesday in May, just the two of us, at the end of our first year, having survived many deadlines, exams, and a couple of national lockdowns, tier systems, and a roadmap to freedom. We decided to treat ourselves to a night at Ginseco after our last closed-book exam of the year.
The night felt a bit strange at the beginning, as the event started at nine – we were still used to the 10 pm curfew that we had back in November.
We were seated at a small table near the bar and shortly served with a free glass of gin fusion that came with the ticket that we had bought in advance. The setting was probably one of the nicest we have seen on a uni night out so far: dimmed lights, colourful neons, pastel pinks, gold accents, and, of course, the view of the city (that we could not fully enjoy because of where we were seated).
However, what we could enjoy was the fact that we did not have to hold on to our glasses so that they would not be knocked over by the wind, or to wear big, winter jackets so that we could somewhat enjoy our drinks in the still pretty cold weather.
On the contrary, I was wearing a mesh top, while my friend was wearing a dress (outfits which we could only dream about until a week ago), and the only thing that could knock over our drinks were our tipsy, not-so-coordinated movements.
With coronavirus still very much present in our lives, the venue felt as covid-secure as it could. Social distancing, staff wearing masks, protective screens in between the tables (that almost go unnoticed), and, obviously, the notorious contactless payment, we never felt at risk of catching the virus.
The serving took longer than anticipated and was quite chaotic as we had our drinks mixed up twice. However, the excitement of finally being able to enjoy a drink inside overrode every little trace of annoyance that we could have possibly felt.
As a big Rap and Hip-Hop fan, I was really excited about this event, as that was supposed to be the theme. However, it was more of a Drake and popular TikTok songs (yes, including the ‘Body’ remix, which was played at least three times) kind of night, which I was not necessarily happy with at first (especially because all the songs that I actually liked were only played for around 30 seconds each), but after a couple of drinks, I did not really seem to care anymore.
Everyone was chatting, drinking, taking pictures, trying their best to dance in their seats; we were all having fun, and apart from the protective screens in between the tables and the staff wearing masks, it all seemed normal.
After having one too many drinks, we had decided that we had had enough of the new normality for one night and headed back to our accommodation to get a good night’s sleep before our next (indoors) night out.
Lead image: Rucsandra Moldoveanu