FIVE March, sitting on the edge of Kelvingrove Park, is a neighbourhood hangout for food, cocktails and good times with friends. Your favourite Glasgow DJ probably drinks here.

Part of a new wave of west end hospitality, the owner had established a venue with a strong sense of community before lockdown intervened. Owner Joanna Nethery is excited about restarting conversations with locals over the months ahead. “A lot of our regulars live close by and they will have a chat to us over the wee railing outside and spirits are high at the moment, everyone’s so excited about starting to go outside again. We’re all going to appreciate it more after we’ve been kept from one another,” she says.

“We all take so much from other people, in terms of how we feel about ourselves and reassurance. So, we are looking forward to being hospitable again, to make folk feel welcome. We’ve been talking about all our favourite regulars and we will have a year’s worth of news to catch up on.”

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Joanna and Peter MacKay, her business partner who is the head chef, have been offering a dine-at-home menu during lockdown. This had the benefit of allowing Five March to bring the kitchen team back to work while also finding new customers on social media.

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A busy dining room remains the ideal scenario: “I think we miss the camaraderie that you get from a busy Saturday night with the tickets racking up and the buzz from the dining room,” Joanna continues.

“Dine at home was essential for our income. We’re a young business but we want to get our game faces back on and see people laughing and having fun again, the whole place swinging.”

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Meanwhile, Five March has been joined by Morning Glory café on Great Western Road. They had spent a lot of time planning this new part of the business and decided to persevere. It turned out to be a gift: “That street seems so vibrant at the moment and the footfall is amazing,” says Joanna.

“We may end up branching into other things but for now we are enjoying meeting new customers and developing our offering. We’re absolutely delighted with our first few weeks.”

Joanna describes the Morning Glory menu as the “healthier side of takeout” with plans to move into more brunch options. They also stock a wide range of young independents.

“There are so many people coming out with their own ranges at the moment and it’s so good to see – we have people like Kitty’s Doughnuts and Two Birds, which is this amazing cold press coffee. The ethos has been that this will be an ever-growing list. If someone else can do something better than you then work with them.”

As the country begins to imagine a brighter future, what is Joanna looking forward to seeing around Scotland? “Oh, just being somewhere with friends and family, a weekend near a beach or a loch, having a bonfire at night and the chance to enjoy each other’s company, rather than being separated and trying to run a business through our living rooms. “I think this last year has made me realise that we really should be a little more grateful for each other.”

This features is from the April edition of Best of Scotland magazine.