WATCH: A look inside one of the best pubs in Norfolk
The landlord of CAMRA’s Norfolk pub of the year explains how he helped The Leopard change its spots.
Bob Utting, 48, hasn’t always been in the pub trade - in fact he started out in the haulage industry.
But despite his relatively late start to pulling pints, the landlord of The Leopard has done wonders for the pub since he took over in August 2013.
Within two years it was featured in the prestigious Good Beer Guide produced by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), and this week they named it Norwich and Norfolk’s ‘pub of the year’.
As someone who is proudly “NR3 born and bred”, Mr Utting knew what it took to transform the pub, which sits on the corner of Bull Close Road, from a “tired old lady” to a community gem.
He said: “When we got the pub we were closed for about a year while we breathed some new life into it.
“The original bar is how you see it now, the original bar had been ripped out and replaced with a tiny little bar, so we put it back the same way it was, got new flooring, made the entrance bigger.
“We basically went to town on it.”
CAMRA’s praise of The Leopard reflected the notion that the pub had come along way under Mr Utting’s management.
They described the changes as a transformation into “a light and bright, friendly pub, with something for everyone.”
Speaking about how it felt to receive the accolade, Mr Utting said: “I’m just chuffed to bits to be rewarded for the hard work I’ve put in.
“This is a corner boozer, nothing more, nothing less.
“We’re blessed with so many good pubs in this area and I’m chuffed that The Leopard has been recognised.
“The thing that makes a good pub is being part of the community.
“It’s been a long hard slog but the social aspect makes it worth it.”
CAMRA also named The Leopard ‘city pub of the year’ and revealed further winners - with The Green Dragon in Wymondham regaining its crown as ‘rural pub of the year’ and The White Lion on Oak Street named as ‘branch cider pub of the year’.