December 6 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 23, 2013
A North Walsham institution has reopened its doors after a five-month break.
The Black Swan pub, in the heart of the town, welcomed back customers this week for the first time since the former landlords quit in April.
The new faces behind the bar, Trevor and Karen Collins, said they felt optimistic about the future of the pub which has been redecorated throughout ahead of opening day. “We want to give the town back the local it knew. The decor and lighting may have changed, but it’s still the same pub,” said Mr Collins, 52, a former prison officer.
“Old customers have been popping their heads round the door and saying it looks brighter and that they’ll be back. Some have even been helping with the painting.”
Darts and pool teams are looking forward to returning and the Black Swan will also be starting Nuts Poker League nights on Tuesdays.
Mr Collins and his wife, 48, a former nurse, hope to have an opening party night on September 14 when the Lee Vasey Band is booked to appear. The couple, who have five children and five grandchildren between them, said they hoped to have live bands at least once a month, plus discos in the Black Swan’s function room, which has been open for the past four weeks.
“The Black Swan is a three generations pub – you get sons, dads and granddads all drinking at the same time in different parts of the pub. We want it to stay that way,” added Mr Collins, who helped manage a pub in Fareham, Hampshire, after he left the Royal Navy in 1993. He retired from the prison service in June this year.
The pub, owned by Enterprise Inns, had given jobs to five permanent full and part-time staff, plus about half a dozen casual workers, he said.
Previous tenants the Cheek family, who ran the Black Swan for nearly 22 years, walked out, saying Enterprise would not lower the rent in a very tough economic climate, even though they believed it was one of the company’s top-performing pubs in the area.