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The pub landlords working together to try and save the high street

PUBLISHED: 05:27 12 October 2020

Bar 37, a new cocktail bar/art gallery space, just opened in August. Co-owner Ruben Cruz wants to make it a space for younger people to attract a different audience to King Street. Photo: Sarah Burgess

Bar 37, a new cocktail bar/art gallery space, just opened in August. Co-owner Ruben Cruz wants to make it a space for younger people to attract a different audience to King Street. Photo: Sarah Burgess

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As coronavirus restrictions continue to “make life difficult” for pubs and bars - landlords along one coastal high street are pulling together to make the best of a bad situation,

Bar 37, a new cocktail bar/art gallery space, just opened in August. The owners want to make it a space for younger people to attract a different audience to King Street. Photo: Sarah BurgessBar 37, a new cocktail bar/art gallery space, just opened in August. The owners want to make it a space for younger people to attract a different audience to King Street. Photo: Sarah Burgess

Peggoty’s Bar, Theatre Tavern and Bar 37 - all along or near King Street in Great Yarmouth - were supposed to open for the first time under new management back in March.

For Ruben Cruz and his business partner Marwan Abouraban, who took over Bar 37 next door to the Yankee Traveller in November last year, having to rearrange contracts after lockdown postponed their opening was a heavy blow.

Mr Cruz said: “We’d been working on a contract with Greene King, which fell apart when lockdown was announced, then we had to start from the beginning again.

“We didn’t end up opening until August because of the delay - and now with the rule of six and 10pm curfew it’s proving tricky to attract customers.

Gary and Sarah Hamer, new landlords of the Theatre Tavern in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Sarah Hamer.Gary and Sarah Hamer, new landlords of the Theatre Tavern in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Sarah Hamer.

“Because Theatre Tavern and Peggoty’s are in the same boat as us we’ve decided to work together to share custom, and encourage customers to visit each other’s venues. We often get people come here for cocktails who’ve eaten at Peggoty’s first.

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“We’re trying to stop everyone flocking to Marine Parade by making King Street a place for younger people. There needs to be a reason for people to come here, because everything else is closing down.”

For Gary Hamer, who was due to open the Theatre Tavern with his wife Sarah just before lockdown, pubs in the area have to stick together.

Sarah Hamer, 51, new landlord at the Theatre Tavern in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Sarah Hamer.Sarah Hamer, 51, new landlord at the Theatre Tavern in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Sarah Hamer.

He said: “Not everyone wants to be a part of this, but for those of us who do it’s working well. It’s a tough time to be in this buisness.

“We’re sharing stock if anyone runs out and sending people along the road if our pub is full.”

Gail Taylor, who runs Peggoty’s Bar, said the goal was to “bring back a 90s vibe” to King Street.

She said: “King Street is really picking up, and is getting back to that relaxed and inclusive vibe it used to have in the 90s.”

But for Mr Cruz, any new announcements could still throw a spanner in the works.

Gail Taylor, from Peggoty's Bar, said she was Gail Taylor, from Peggoty's Bar, said she was "extremely excited" to welcome people into her pub for the first time in July, which has begun trading under the name Luck, Lust, Liqour and Grinds. Photo: Sarah Burgess

“If the hospitality sector gets an even stricter curfew I’d rather we closed completely.

“Even with us all working together, it still won’t be enough to offset the damage caused by further restrictions.”


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