Derelict room in café bistro transformed into cosy cocktail bar
- Credit: Brittany Woodman/Archant
The owners of a café bistro in North Walsham are mixing things up this spring with a new cocktail bar.
Rebecca Lysaght, a retired GP, and husband David opened Shambles in Market Street in November 2018 as a not-for-profit venture.
After living in the town for 20 years, they wanted to open somewhere where people could get fresh, homecooked food, and where local people were employed.
They first took on the 500-year-old building in 2015 but it took three years to renovate as it was derelict with missing walls and water pouring through the roof.
Despite the challenges of the extensive building work and Covid, the response from customers has made it all worthwhile.
Mrs Lysaght said: "We got a very good reaction and in 2019 we won the best newcomer at the Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards."
The venue specialises in Mediterranean food and tapas, but also on offer are stone-baked pizzas, breakfasts, lunches, cakes, coffees and now cocktails too.
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She added: "It was a room we hadn't used before and it was derelict - we spent the last two years doing it up.
"It is an events space and cocktail bar, which can seat 40 people comfortably, and we had some help from the Covid Resilience Grant from North Norfolk District Council.
"It is a 500-year-old room with low beams and eclectic furniture, lots of rugs and a copper bar."
Last summer, experienced mixologist Jack Rushton came on board as the new bar manager and he has created the cocktail menu.
Mr Rushton said: "Some of the drinks are classics and others are my own creations - I tend to go for balanced, refreshing drinks.
"My creations include a Calvados Collins and a Rushton's Mai Tai and I can also make one with your favourite flavours.
"Since we opened the reaction has been completely positive and everyone likes the design of the room."
Shambles is set over two floors with some outdoor seating.
It is open Tuesday to Sunday and the cocktail bar Thursday to Saturday from 5pm until late.