The Maids Head Bar, Norwich, Great Norfolk Pub Guide: ‘Alan Partridge, confirmed The Maids Head Bar as his favourite Norfolk pub’
- Credit: Archant
The most famous bar you've probably never been to...
Famed artist Sir Alfred Munnings declared it the best bar in the world. Legend has it Lord Nelson supped his very first pint here too. It's one of Norwich's oldest watering holes, housed in one of its most historic buildings but be honest - have you ever been to The Maids Head Bar? Did you even know it existed?
It seems odd to think of somewhere proudly serving pints to its patrons since the 15th Century as a hidden gem. But that's exactly what this cosy little haunt in the heart of The Maids Head Hotel is.
A Jacobean bar, this oak-lined corner of the hotel feels cosy, romantic and almost like a private member's pub. Being part of the hotel and tucked away deep inside, it might not attract too many passing punters just looking for a pint on the off-chance. Maybe that's why, despite all its history, The Maids Head Bar remains one of the Fine City's best kept secrets.
The bar itself is lovely and snug - all comfy carpets, proper pub stools and spongy bench seats begging to be flopped into. The heater in the hearth is electric but this distinguished old room feels as though warmed by a real log fire.
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Open to everyone, every day, this historic hideaway also benefits from a restaurant, chef, and even toilets that have all won prestigious awards. Real ale can be quaffed for under £4 a pint and traditional cocktails come with fancy Norfolk twists.
The Maids Head has played host to The Black Prince, Catherine of Aragon and many a royal VIP. More recently that king of the county's airwaves, Alan Partridge, confirmed The Maids Head Bar as his favourite Norfolk pub!
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For the purists it may never strictly be a pub, but The Maids Head Bar still provides the perfect pubby escape on a cold winter night, or any afternoon when one drink might turn into five - or perhaps even a dinner for two.
Opening Hours(for non-residents): Monday to Sunday 9am to 11pm.
Food: If Norfolk Jerky's not your thing (and why wouldn't it be?), maybe Dingley Dell pork and pommes is. Or Dedham Vale beef bavette?
Whatever you need to soak up your Maid's Head Ale (£3.90 a pint) there's plenty to satisfy your appetite - from authentic Norfolk nibbles to the exquisite food prepared by 'Magic' Marcin Pomierny – Chef of the Year at last year's EDP's Norfolk Food & Drink Awards.
The Facilities: In 2015, following a £140,000 refurbishment, The Maids Head was flushed with pride to see its toilets awarded the national title of 'Hotel Loo of the Year'. Expect individual hand towels, 'Noir' soaps and lotions from The White Company and a private padded bench to lighten the load platinum-rated cleanliness at every turn.
SIX OF THE BEST:
1.When's the BEST time to visit your pub?
Early evening to late evening, it's a bit darker in here and that makes for a nicer, cosier ambience when it's darker outside.
2. What's the BEST memory you have of your pub?
After our December refurb – our new carpets and benches made the whole place look much cleaner and tidier.
3. What's the BEST drink you serve?
Our Norfolk gin and tonic.
4. What's the BEST dish on the menu?
It's got to be the duo of lamb with harissa potatoes off the a la carte menu.
5. What's the BEST hangover cure known to man?
A bacon sandwich all the way!
6. And finally, what's the BEST pub in Norfolk (apart from yours)?
The Wig & Pen in Norwich. It's a great place to have a beer with the chef after work.
Watch The Great Norfolk Pub Guide on The Mustard Show – Friday, 6.30pm, Freeview Ch7 or Virgin 159 – or catch up on via Norfolk Now on YouTube