How one Norfolk pub is bouncing back from lockdown
- Credit: Andrew Waddison/AW PR
Taking a pub back to its roots has helped it bounce back from lockdown.
Michael Baldwin, Laurie Betts and Mike Wilson reopened the Wenns Chop and Ale House on the Saturday Market in King’s Lynn at the end of February.
Weeks later, the hospitality trade was reeling as the coronavirus flared. Like countless others, the relaunched pub was left in the doldrums.
When the go-ahead came to pour pints and fire up the range again on July 4, there were dire predictions when it came to how pubs and eateries might cope with social distancing.
But Mr Baldwin said the Wenns had got off to a flying start after reopening its doors.
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“It’s going really well at the moment,” he said. “We’ve got lots of tourism people coming down and staying in the local area and the bar and restaurant has really found its way in the community.”
Until January, the venue had traded as Goldings, a pub with rooms and deli for two years.
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But at the end of December Richard and Lucy Golding, who also ran the Market Bistro next door, announced it was closing.
Mr Baldwin said the Wenns had changed tack with its food and drink offer.
“We’ve gone back to our roots,” he said. “We’ve gone back to being a traditional pub that’s warm, friendly and welcoming.”
Menus are meaty but informal, with tapas and platters on offer alongside the chops.
Drinks include real ales, craft beers and even a gin from around the corner.
Many feared for their business longer-term, even before the latest restrictions.
But Mr Baldwin, who also owns the Bank House on Lynn’s historic quays, said: “I think it will be fine. I think there are lots of restrictions at the moment, but those restrictions will ease.
“People are really enjoying the food. We had Eat Out to Help Out in August, which was a really good boost for the Wenns.”
He added some customers who had tried the pub using the government-backed discount scheme were now making return visits, while Lynn was starting to see more tourists - perhaps because fewer were taking holidays abroad.