Where in the world can you go for a pint?

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Europe Coronavirus Legislation

With England moving into its second national lockdown, The Morning Advertiser scoured regulations governing hospitality operators across the rest of Europe to see where in the world beers are still being served.

As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA),​ MPs voted in favour of a new set of lockdown rules​ from midnight on 5 November. 516 voted to approve the lockdown, while there were 38 votes against. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson implored MPs to vote with the Government for a four-week lockdown in England, arguing the lockdown was needed to prevent deaths “on a grievous scale”. 

Elsewhere, Welsh pubs have received confirmation that they will be allowed to trade from 9 November with new nationwide rules​ replacing the previous system of varying local measures.

Pubs have been closed since Friday 23 October as the nation was plunged into a ‘firebreak’ lockdown to curb rates of coronavirus transmission. 

What’s more, Scottish pubs​ have faced varying restrictions on serving alcohol under a new levelled system of coronavirus restrictions as of 2 November.

There are five levels in the system, with pubs in level two areas allowed to sell alcohol indoors with a main meal until 8pm.

Venues outside the central belt of Scotland can currently not serve alcohol indoors and must close at 6pm.


Where can EU visit a pub or bar? 

Austria​ – per an update on 4 November, bars, cafés and restaurants in Austria are only allowed to open for take away orders or delivery.

Belgium​ – Although Belgium’s bars, restaurants and cafés are currently closed, take away meals are permitted until 10pm. It is also forbidden to sell alcohol after 8pm.  An evaluation of these measures is expected after two weeks 

Additionally, while all types of accommodation may be opened, hotel bars and restaurants have closed with guests only allowed to consume meals in their room.

Bulgaria​ – Bulgaria’s hospitality businesses can trade provided a physical distance of 1.5m between the backs of the nearest chairs at two adjacent tables is guaranteed, alongside a maximum number of six people per table.  

Croatia​ – As per an update on 4 November, cafés and restaurants can operate from 6am until midnight, though bars can open later. 

Customers have to wear face masks, except while sitting and consuming food or drink. 

Staff who come into contact with guests or who serve or prepare food and drink have to wear face masks.

Cyprus​ – Strict hygiene measures are in place in bars, restaurants and cafés in Cyprus. The maximum number of customers allowed to be served is capped at 75 people for indoor areas, with physical distancing of 3m², while 150 people can be served in outdoor areas with a 2m² rule in place.  

The maximum number of customers who can sit at the same table is capped at six.

Czech Republic​ – As of 22 October, a new lockdown and 9pm to 5am curfew were introduced in the Czech Republic, with only essential journeys – such as for health, security and work-related reasons – permitted. 

Non-essential services and shops have been ordered to remain closed, meaning that bars and cafés are currently shut with deliveries and takeaways allowed before 8pm.



Denmark​ – Danish hospitality businesses are allowed to trade between 5am and 10pm, though all guests must wear a face mask except when seated. 

Groups of more than 10 people are not allowed and the distance between tables has to be at least 1m. 

The sale of alcohol is prohibited from 10pm and bars are asked to comply with voluntary guest registration to track infections.  

Posters outlining the maximum number of people allowed per booking must be displayed at the entrance.

Estonia​ – Bars and cafés in Estonia can trade during their normal hours, although 2m social distancing must be observed and disinfectants must be made available for customers.

A nationwide restriction on the sale of alcohol between midnight and 10am is also in place at present.

Finland​ – Finland’s hospitality businesses are currently operating under a table service only policy, with social distancing and hygiene measures also in place. 

However, in provinces that have seen the highest infection rates, businesses must stop serving customers at 10pm and are forced to closd at 11pm. Additionally, venues in these regions can only trade at 50% capacity.


France​ – As of 30 October, a new national lockdown was imposed on France, with non-essential services and shops told to close. A curfew is also in place across 54 regions. As such, bars and cafés must remain closed.

Germany​ – From 2 to 30 November, bars and cafés will be closed except for takeaway services. 

Greece​ – Bars, restaurants and cafes in Greece are allowed to trade under specific hygiene protocols, which are subject to change depending on local infection rates.  

As of 3 November, all dining in areas deemed to be high risk is suspended, except for home deliveries.

Hungary​ – Staff are obliged to wear face masks in Hungary’s hospitality businesses, with 1.5m social distancing and 11pm curfew policies also in place.

Iceland​ – Bars are allowed to be open until 11pm with social distancing encouraged alongside sanitation and hand washing.  

In the areas surrounding the capital, Reykjavík, however, stricter rules apply. Restaurants have to close at 9pm and must comply with a 2m social distancing rule and a 10-customer cap. Pubs in the city-region are closed.

Ireland​ – While hospitality businesses can still offer takeaway food or delivery only, wet-led pubs in the capital, Dublin, are completely closed.


Italy​ – Hospitality businesses are allowed to trade between 5am and 6pm in Italy and must comply with guidelines and protocols set out by their regional authority. 

The maximum number of people permitted per table is currently four, though no cap is applied to single-household groups.

Home delivery and takeaway operations are permitted until 10pm, provided they comply with hygiene and health regulations, with customers banned from consuming food or drink near the business they purchased it from.

In high-risk and medium-risk areas, while hospitality venues are closed, home delivery and takeaway remains permitted until 10pm subject to the same rules set out earlier. 

Latvia​ – Food-led businesses can be open from 6am until 2am in Latvia, though for indoor venues no more than eight non-household visitors can be at the same table. There are no restrictions on outdoor seating areas. Bars and night clubs are required to close at midnight. 

Lithuania​ – Bars and cafes are allowed to open between 7am and midnight in Lithuania, though customer registration is mandatory. People from different households have to respect 2m social distancing. 

Luxembourg​ - All bars, restaurants and cafés in Luxembourg must ensure that there is at least 1.5m between tables or that customers are separated by plexiglass screens.

Additionally, no more than four people may sit at the same table – though single household groups are exempt – and customers must wear a mask while they are not seated. Staff members who are in contact with customers must also wear a mask.

Venues, which are limited to 100 customers, are also required to close by 11pm. 

Malta​ – Bars and cafés are allowed to trade in Malta with a maximum of 10 people allowed to sit at the same table with a distance of at least 2m required between groups. Masks are mandatory in common areas, with bars and clubs required to close by 11pm.


Netherlands​ – Restaurants, cafés, bars, night clubs and outdoor seating areas are closed across the Netherlands, though takeaway operations are still permitted. Multi-function venues must close the area that serves food and drinks. What’s more, between 8pm and 7am you may not drink alcohol in public spaces. 

Norway​ – As per an update on 29 October, hospitality businesses must ensure a distance of at least 1m between seated customers, apart for members of the same household. What’s more, collecting customer contact details is compulsory. 

Poland​ – As of 24 October, the entire country is classified as a red zone with stricter rules are in place. Only hospitality businesses offering takeaway and delivery are allowed to trade.  

Portugal​ - The sale of alcoholic beverages is forbidden after 8pm in Portugal. Restaurants can, however, open until midnight, but are required to close at 1am – though their capacity is limited to 50% of normal trade. Groups are also capped at five people, unless they belong to the same household. It is also mandatory for customers to book in advance. 

A maximum of four people can be in establishments within 300 metres of a school and in the food courts of shopping centres.  

What’s more, in the 121 municipalities subject to strictrer measure, businesses must close at 10.30pm. 

Romania​ – Hospitality businesses can sell food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks via "drive-in", "room-service" and delivery operations. What’s more, measures including a minimum 2m distance between tables and a maximum number of four people per group, unless they belong to the same household, are in place. In high-risk areas, stricter rules may apply or bars and cafés can be closed.

Slovakia​ – While indoor venues are closed in Slovakia, outdoor venues may continue to trade provided there is 2m distance between each table, customers wear face masks while temporarily indoors – staff must wear them constantly – tables are disinfected after each use, and venues close at 10pm with the exception of delivery services and sales using dispensing windows.

Slovenia​ – In high risk “red” regions, restaurants and bars are closed, though but takeaway operations are permitted. While this ban does not apply to catering in accommodation businesses where food and drink is consumed between 6am and and 10.30pm, this exemption only applies to guests. 

What’s more, catering in said venues is allowed only at tables with a distance of at least 1.5m between groups, except for persons from the same household. 

In lower risk, “orange” zones, all services remain open.


Spain​ – Though there is a national curfew between 11pm and 6am in place, excluding the Canary Islands, bars and cafes can trade provided they ensure that stringent measures on disinfection and capacity are applied.  

Autonomous regions also have the authority to start the curfew an hour earlier, or late and can move to stricter or more lenient measures depending on the local situation. As such Catalonia announced the closure of all bars and restaurants from 16 October. 

In venues that remain open, customers and workers have to maintain a distance of at least 1.5m and wear a face mask, removing it only when strictly necessary, for example to eat meals. 

It is also forbidden to smoke in the open air when a distance of 2m cannot be maintained.

Sweden​ – Bars and cafés are allowed to trade in Sweden under the conditions that no crowding is allowed, and guests respect physical distancing and table-service only polices are implemented, while takeaway food can be purchased, as long as no crowding occurs.

Switzerland​ – In Swiss restaurants, bars and clubs, food and drink may only be consumed while seated, both indoors and outdoors, and face masks are required.

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