Pubs eager to reopen despite concerns over unpredictable April weather

Orchard Gardens owner Alison Starling (left).

Orchard Gardens owner Alison Starling (left). - Credit: Archant

The county's pubs have been closed since December, and many regulars are looking forward to their first pint back.

In North Walsham, publicans are excited to reopen, but feel their success will be weather dependant.

Bev Holland, at the White Swan, says she is not planning to open until indoor opening is allowed, currently scheduled for May 17, due to the unpredictable April weather.

The White Swan in North Walsham. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske

The White Swan in North Walsham. Picture: Casey Cooper-Fiske - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

She said: "We're aiming for May, the weather's too unpredictable in April it's just not worth it. If we have an April like we did last year it'll be lovely, but we're looking at May.

"As long as they allow everything, because it's not set in stone yet, I'm just looking forward to seeing people, how some people are coping god only knows.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel now, hopefully it'll be nine weeks and we can open, hopefully just five weeks for some people if they're opening outside."

In 2005 North Walsham was dubbed 'the drinking capital of Europe' after many of its pubs were given a 24-hour drinking licence, believed to be one of the highest ratios by population of anywhere in Europe.

At the Hop In micropub, owner Nigel Davis is planning to reopen on Friday,  April 16 ahead of the first pubbing weekend of the year.

Jane Edrupt, of the Hop In in North Walsham, serving at the hatch. Photo: Norwich and District CAMRA

Jane Edrupt, of the Hop In in North Walsham, serving at the hatch. Photo: Norwich and District CAMRA - Credit: Archant

Most Read

He said: "We can open from the Monday but we're actually going to open on the Friday so we can get everyone in over the weekend.

"We'll have tables and chairs outside by then, all socially distanced, just like last summer.

"If it's warmed up a bit by then we won't bother to put a marquee up, if we can get away with it then we'll just have the tables and chairs."

Orchard Gardens owner Alison Starling is yet to make a decision on whether to open in April or wait until indoor service is allowed in May, but hopes to open as soon as possible.

Pub of the Week - The Orchard Gardens pub, North Walsham.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Orchard Gardens pub, North Walsham.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

She said: "We're not 100pc sure because it's a challenging environment when you can only open outside with limited tables.

"In all likelihood we'll be opening in April, but although we've got a big garden and we've built some shelter, we're limited with tables and obviously with table service we need extra staff.

"It'll be a really challenging environment to be opening in, but we'll give it a go, because our customers are desperate to come and see everybody."

Our Town - North Walsham. The Hop In, one of the new businesses in town. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Hop-In pub in North Walsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus