Latest news

Here are the current rules on eating out and drinking in London 

Note - this page covers post-lockdown rules, which start on 2 December 2020

Thinking of going out to a restaurant, pub or bar but can't keep up with all the changes and restrictions? We're here to help. On this page, you'll find the latest rules and regulations about eating and drinking in London, and we'll update it as soon as things change. Which they most certainly will.

What tier will London be in post-lockdown?

London will return to Tier 2, aka high risk. But there are some changes from the pre-lockdown Tier 2. 

When will I be able to go out to a restaurant, pub or bar?

Post lockdown, you can visit any restaurant, pub or bar in London (and England) and order food until 10pm. This is the new "last orders" time. 

After this, you will have up to an hour to finish. So by 11pm, you should have left the building. Hopefully this means less of a scrum at closing. But, once the food is finished, your meal is finished. You don't have an hour just for finishing your drink.

How many people can I dine with?

You will only be able to dine indoors with people from your own household or support bubble, with no number limit. The exception to this is for self-employed people and freelancers who can meet other people for a business lunch or dinner. 

However, you will still be able to dine outside with people who are not in your household or support bubble. The rule of six applies here though - no more than six diners to a group. Winter alfresco it is, then

What are the rules when I get there?

It's now table service only - by law - both inside and outside.

That means you'll need a table (or a seat at the bar) and you'll have to order any food and drinks from there. So there's no more leaving your seat and going to the bar for a drink, and absolutely no mingling. Booking in advance is highly recommended (and, usefully, that's now an option in many places where it wasn't possible previously). 

There are exceptions though - table service is not required for places without an alcohol licence - like McDonalds or Pret.

What about masks?

The only place you don't have to wear a mask is when you're seated at your table (or at the bar/counter). 

You have to be wearing a mask when you enter and leave the premises - and also whenever you leave your table - e.g. if you need to head to the loo or pop outside for a cigarette/vape while you're there. Essentially, if anyone walks past you when you're eating and they don't have a mask on - they're breaking the rules. 

All staff also have to wear a mask too. 

What about takeaway/delivery? 

There are no time restrictions for them - so even when a restaurant stops serving at 10pm, it may still be possible to order food for delivery after that time. 

Where do these restrictions apply?

Across London, as well as anywhere else currently in Tier 2. 

There may be differences in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland - but you'll have to look elsewhere for those. Sorry.

And what if I decide to stay in?

Luckily there are lots of places delivering food and drink across London and nationwide. You can find all those in our Staying In guide

Anything else? 

Not right now, but God knows the rules have been changing a lot. We'll update this page when they do (and also highlight what's changed). 


Subscribe to hear the latest from Hot Dinners

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy.


Hot Dinners recommends

Test Drive