'Size doesn't matter': Three pals get go-ahead for city micropub

Three friends open Malt & Mardle micropub

Elliot Dransfield, Emily Bridges and Johnny Durant who are soon to be opening the Malt and Mardle micropub. - Credit: Supplied

Three friends who share a love of beer and brewing are celebrating getting the green light for a new tiny pub in Norwich.

Elliot Dransfield, Johnny Durant and Emily Bridges have just got planning permission to turn a former shop at 163, Magdalen Street into the Malt and Mardle.

Friends starting Malt & Mardle

The Lazy Real Ale team outside the new premises. - Credit: Supplied

With just 334 sqft inside, the venue aims to be one of the city's smallest pubs offering just one room for up to 40 people to gather.

Having met at the University of Leeds in 2013 as undergraduates, the trio all now live in Norwich and last year decided to realise their dream of opening their first community pub. They started the Lazy Ale firm and applied for planning and an alcohol licence for the premises.

They decided it might be easier to run a small pub because of Covid restrictions and set their heart on transforming the former retail unit which was once a hair and beauty business and more recently the Norwich branch of Great Yarmouth-based Flint Motorcycles.

Since the last occupiers left earlier this year, the premises have sat empty.

The friends applied for planning to change the use from retail to a micropub and now they've got the go-ahead, hope to open up in the next couple of months when lockdown lifts.

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They aim to sell a simple selection of quality real ales and as a result recently gained the support of the local branch of Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale.

A spokesman from the Norwich & District branch said: "The concept of the micropub utilises smaller buildings, often empty shops, to bring much needed extra trade to our streets where many shops have closed in recent months.
"Similar establishments trade in the Norwich Market Place, North Walsham, King's Lynn and Cromer. They are a welcome addition to the high street and would be good for Norwich at a time when so many pubs are closing for good."

team at Malt & Mardle

The trio outside the premises in Magdalen Street. - Credit: Supplied

Co-owner Mr Dransfield said they hoped the business would become a social gathering space that had a positive influence on the community. "We’re delighted to hear that we’ve been granted planning permission for a change of use.

"It allows us to move onto the next stage of getting our business up and running. We can’t wait to join the ranks of the other brilliant small pubs we have throughout Norwich and convert our 334 sq ft space into a thriving watering hole for the community."