The Ribs of Beef, Norwich, Great Norfolk Pub Guide: “Quietly bewitching all-comers”
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Is this pub home to the best Scotch egg in Norfolk?
Confess to being a witch and get burned alive. Deny being a witch and be drowned in the process. In medieval times, the choices faced by some of Norwich's womenfolk outside The Ribs of Beef were harsh to say the least.
Nowadays, for anyone in The Ribs of Beef, picking between fish and chips and one of their famous Scotch eggs is about as tough as it gets.
This pub has stood proudly by its riverside for over 200 years. Today it still clings to plenty of proud traditions, and that's all any of us want from our local. Thankfully, witch-dipping in the Wensum is no longer one of them – though one punter did confess he could probably make an exception for his mother-in-law.
'The Ribs' serves hearty, unfussy grub and pints at reasonable prices - £2.90 will get you a cask ale, £3.60 a pint of Carlsberg. It's known for its roasts and live music on a Sunday and is just as happy providing one-on-the-way-home-from-work on weekdays as it is being a launchpad for those looking to let loose at the weekend.
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Saturday lunchtime, pre-football, is, remarkably, a good time to visit – one of the best according to management. There is no tanked-up taunting or threat from City footy fans. There, expect a few football colours – and only occasionally colourful football chatter – from the assembled Canaries faithful.
If escape is required there are options. Private tables and inglenooks abound, and the separate Wherry Room is found downstairs. Outside patrons can perch themselves right above the Wensum itself. Perfect for drinkers in summer – or smokers all year round.
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The Ribs of Beef hums with a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. It revels in its history and homespun charm. Being on one of the main party arteries in and out of the city, it could suffer from trying to be all things to all people. But it succeeds – quietly bewitching all-comers by basically being itself.
Six of the best with manager Jonathan Power:
1. When's the BEST time to visit your pub?
Saturdays pre-football. Sundays for live music or any other time you fancy a drink.
2. What's the best memory you have of your pub?
I've only been here five months but my best memory was a carol service - a raucous sing-along where the pub was absolutely packed.
3. What's the BEST pint you serve?
That's a pint of Black Anna stout from Norwich's Chalk Hill Brewery - 4%.
4. What's the BEST dish on the menu?
Fish and chips. We do it to order and run across to the local fishmongers (Howard & Son) so it's always fresh as.
5. What's the BEST hangover cure known to Man?
One of our famous Scotch eggs and any drink you want.
6. And finally, what's the BEST pub in Norfolk (apart from yours)?
My favourite at the moment is just down the road, and it's The Plasterers Arms.
Need to know:
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am to 11pm, Friday 11am to 12.30am, Saturday 10.30am to 12.30am, Sunday 11am to 10,30pm.
Food: Think hearty pub classics. Fish and chips, burgers, chunky sandwiches served with crisps and proper, gravy-laden roasts on a Sunday. The Rib of
Beef has also developed something of a cult following for its homemade Scotch eggs.
Toilets: Small, but perfectly formed. It could get cramped in the gents during the half-term rush, but there are no hidden historical nasties in these well-maintained facilities.
The Great Norfolk Pub Guide is in association with Lacons
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