Drinkers spilled out onto chilly streets at 10pm nursing the dregs of their pints in plastic cups in the first of many early nights to come.
Punters were forced to down drinks and head home as England’s new curfew kicked in.
The measure brought in to curb soaring coronavirus rates will see pubs, bars and restaurants call final orders at 10pm for the foreseeable future.
Boris Johnson warned Brits the fresh measures could be here to stay for six months as the UK grapples with a second wave of the deadly virus.
Nightlife hot-spots up and down the country decanted drinkers and diners out into the streets, on a crisp Autumn night.
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Pictures taken in Soho, in the capital, show people huddled in the cold and cradling takeaway pints as they headed home early.
Boozers in Soho began trying to empty out early and police kept an eye on the streets – conscious that all customers must be out the doors by 10pm.
A small police presence could be seen on the nightlife hot-spot’s pedestrianised streets on Thursday night – but no problems were reported.
Wolverhampton Police posted a video on Twitter thanking the public for complying with the new regulations, saying all venues had shut at 10pm.
The mood was jubilant for some drinkers in Brighton, with the new curfew not preventing at least one birthday celebration.
Along with the 10pm closing times, all hospitality venues must now be table service only to try to help contain the spread of Covid-19.
A sign spotted in Soho protested the new rules – highlighting that it was only last month the government had exhorted Brits to go out drinking and dining.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wildly popular discount Eat Out to Help Out scheme ended barely weeks before the second wave of the virus began to hit.
The new measures have angered vast swathes of the hospitality industry.
Pub and restaurant bosses have warned of more closures and job losses to come.
And Hospitality UK pointed out many punters leaving pubs and bars at 10pm would return to private houses to party.
The ‘rule of six’ law in England’s prohibits larger gatherings.
But the government confirmed no law prevented people from returning home with pals after 10pm to drink once the boozers shut their doors.
The controversial rules for England contrast with those in Wales, where pub-goers will be given an extra 20 minutes to finish their drinks after last orders.
From 6pm on Thursday, changes to coronavirus regulations mean Welsh hospitality businesses including pubs, cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and casinos must not supply alcohol between 10pm and 6am the following day.
Licensed premises will only be able to provide table service for customers when consuming food or drink.
Following a 20-minute period to allow customers to finish their drinks at 10pm -they must close by 10.20pm.
The new rules also bring in harsher fines for businesses and customers who flout them.
More revellers will need to pack face coverings ahead of nights out too, as mask rules tighten in England.
Tthe latest restrictions make them compulsory in taxis and all hospitality venues – until you are seated at a table to eat.
All staff in pubs, restaurants and shops are no longer exempt from face coverings rules.