The Leopard, Norwich, Great Norfolk Pub Guide: ‘Everything I would hope to find’
PUBLISHED: 16:55 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:30 05 May 2017
An open mic night led by students. A trip to the gents in an old-fashioned boozer. The smell of the gents in an old-fashioned boozer! None of these prospects exactly hold universal appeal but trust me, there’s somewhere in Norwich where all of the above can genuinely be enjoyed.
The Leopard has stood in this corner of NR3 since around 1824, long before the terraced houses now surrounding it were even a twinkle in a builder’s eye. egend has it that this pub derives its name from the exotic foreign adventures of the soldiers once stationed at the Cavalry Barracks nearby. Others say the pub was actually called The Lion but the sign outside was so poorly painted, it resembled a leopard.
Whatever the truth, what now stands beside the bustling Bull Close Road is a little gem of a pub that will defy the preconceived expectations of anyone who’s passed by without yet giving it a try.
Landlord Bob Utting has been in charge for three years, and he’s overseen an impressive transformation. Exterior, interior and yes, even the male toilets are all spacious and immaculate in a way I just wasn’t expecting when I walked up to the door. The gents’ in particular were among the freshest-smelling facilities I think I’ve ever tried!
Bob calls his a “corner boozer” – a traditional pub that is all about background music and a lovely long, open-plan bar around which everyone can chat. On that bar is what Bob believes to be the last working Watney’s beer barrel in Norfolk. Some locals have apparently wondered if any Watney’s barrel ever truly worked as it should – but this one does, and it now plays host to a range of good value guest ales.
On the first Wednesday of each month, open mic night draws in talented young musicians from all around. They only add to The Leopard’s broad, all-age community appeal.
I enjoyed my night there, much more than I expected to, and I think you would too. The décor, atmosphere, entertainment, and especially the landlord are everything I would hope to find in a local – and the locals there all seem to agree. This is a Leopard that has changed its spots in the very best way.
Need to know:
Opening Hours: 12noon to 11pm Monday to Thursday and Sundays and until 11.30pm Saturdays.
Food: There is no kitchen on site at The Leopard but there is a selection of good snacks provided fresh from Tombland’s Crocodile Cafe.
Indeed, there is a good selection of takeaways dotted all about this part of NR3 and the landlord is happy for any pint-supping patrons to bring their hot food in with them.
Six of the best with Bob Utting, landlord, The Leopard.
1.When’s the BEST time to visit your pub?
If you want some peace and quiet, afternoons are always best. If you like things a little more lively, try Friday or Saturday nights.
2. What’s the BEST memory you have of your pub?
It’s got to be our second birthday, when we had the pub’s original rockabilly band The Leopard Trio leading the celebrations.
3. What’s the BEST drink you serve?
Lacon’s Encore. An amber ale – 3.8% ABV.
4. What’s the BEST dish on the menu?
Any sandwich or sausage roll we stock, which all come from the Crocodile’s sandwich shop on Tombland.
5. What’s the BEST hangover cure known to Man?
It’s got to be another beer!
6. And finally, what’s the BEST pub in Norfolk (apart from yours)?
The Red Lion, Stiffkey
Watch The Great Norfolk Pub Guide in association with Lacons on The Mustard Show this Friday (6:30pm on Mustard TV: Freeview Ch7 or Virgin Ch159). Catch up on the whole series by searching ‘Great Norfolk Pub Guide’ on the Norfolk Now YouTube channel.