Independent cafe and ale house to open in riverside venue

PUBLISHED: 14:36 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:55 31 July 2019

The North cafe and bar in Norwich will reopen as the Merchant's House. Picture: GoogleImages/Archant

The North cafe and bar in Norwich will reopen as the Merchant's House. Picture: GoogleImages/Archant


A new independent café and ale house will be opening in Norwich’s city centre.

North will close in Fye Bridge on August 9, and details of the new business taking over have been revealed.

The café will reopen under new management as the Merchant's House.

MORE: Norwich cafe and bar to close - but owners allay fears over much-loved sister venue

Owner Philip Grote said: "We'll be an all-day venue, supplying hot drinks and pastries to local workers from 8am, sandwiches (a favourite is going to be Cromer Crab) and delicious sourdough toasties for lunch, cream teas in the afternoon, and alcoholic beverages from 12 noon to late in the evening."

He said the name was inspired by the building's historic role as a medieval merchant's home.

Mr Grote added that the drinks menu will consist of a short cocktail list and a selection of premium spirits and wines, sourced from within Norfolk where possible.

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Mr Grote will run the premises alongside partner Deima.

Recently the pair have run cafes in central London as well as youth hostels in the Scottish Highlands.

Mr Grote said: "This is the first time we've taken on a business as owners, rather than managers, and we're very excited about it. We're also really looking forward to collaborating with our neighbours and landlords, Anteros Arts Foundation."

He added that he is looking forward to welcoming back North customers: "We know that North has developed a loyal following in town over the last three years and we want to reassure people that while there will be a gradual shift in emphasis, you'll all still be welcome!

"There will be one very notable difference, though: we won't have a full restaurant service, as the kitchen is being converted into an art studio."

The Merchant's House is planned to open on August 24.

Current occupant North is the sister site of Frank's Bar in Norwich's Lanes.

Ella Williams is a managing director of both bars alongside her cousin James Wingfield and both decided to close the café to have more of a work life balance.

Ms Williams said: "We're always really busy and have lots of footfall, but we've noticed the landscape of Norwich changing and wanted to close before the café took any sort of downturn."

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