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‘Your pub needs you’: CAMRA urges people to support their local and drink in virtual bar

PUBLISHED: 16:28 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:11 30 April 2020

Craig Maskell, general manager of the Artichoke pub which is still serving customers amid coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Craig Maskell, general manager of the Artichoke pub which is still serving customers amid coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Neil Didsbury

People missing a regular jaunt to their local Norfolk pub are being urged to “pop in for a drink” at a new online bar.

The Belgian Monk, Pottergate, one of the pubs where you can order a beer delivery. Pic: ArchantThe Belgian Monk, Pottergate, one of the pubs where you can order a beer delivery. Pic: Archant

As the lockdown continues and pubs remain closed, pub-goers are being invited to enter the ‘Virtual Red (On)Lion’ to sit with friends over a tipple.

Although it is not quite the same as the real thing, the digital pub – the brainchild of the CAMRA organisation – offers the chance to meet and chat with other people in a virtual bar setting and share what you are drinking at home.

Punters can even choose where they want to sit – in the public bar described as “fun, loud and a normal night out”, the lounge, “comfy and a little quieter,” or even set up your own table. The rules are just like a real pub – with a warning from the landlord that if drinkers misbehave they could be barred.

Many people are missing drinks like the cherry beer at the Belgian Monk, Pottergate but they do offer deliveries. Pic: ArchantMany people are missing drinks like the cherry beer at the Belgian Monk, Pottergate but they do offer deliveries. Pic: Archant

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It is all part of a range of initiatives by CAMRA to support the pub trade while in lockdown. It has launched new online tools which anyone can use to check out local pubs trying to keep going by offering takeaway and drink deliveries. Currently 16 pubs in Norwich are offering bottled beer services including the Belgian Monk, in Pottergate, which delivers, the Artichoke, in Magdalen Road, which offers a bottle shop every Monday and the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, in Lawson Road, which has a takeaway service. But pubs across the county are also taking part.

It comes as pubs are expecting to be among the last to be able to open to the public when lockdown lifts.

The online pub. Pic: ArchantThe online pub. Pic: Archant

However, the interest locally for deliveries from pubs is huge; shown by a recent report whereby searches on the internet in Norfolk for ‘pub delivering food near me’ was the top term – even more popular than coronavirus.

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Norwich & District CAMRA chairman Ian Stamp said: “Pubs are a force for good in society, providing social and wellbeing benefits for people. CAMRA is proud to be leading the fight to ensure that our pubs stay open and thrive.

“These are worrying times and we encourage anyone who is keen to protect their local pub to find out what they are offering and support them. There may also be volunteering opportunities, a chance to learn some new skills and support your local pub or brewery at the same time? Has your local pub opened a crowdfunding campaign?

“Use our free resources and contact your nearest, dearest pubs and breweries directly to find out what is on offer.”

See CAMRA’s Facebook page by clicking here and the CAMRA WhatPub pub guide by clicking here

For brewery information, search the ‘Pulling Together’ interactive map by clicking here

For the online pub click here


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