Home cooking and a full programme is the recipe for success at the Jolly Brewers in Shouldham Thorpe

The Jolly Brewers in Shouldham is run by Jeff and Pat Fry. Picture: Ian Burt

The Jolly Brewers in Shouldham is run by Jeff and Pat Fry. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Enter any pub and you immediately sense if it's on the up, and that special feeling permeates the atmosphere at the Jolly Brewers.

Since Pat and Jeff Fry they took over as tenants, people have been flocking back to the pub, some from as far away as King's Lynn and Downham Market.

Mr Fry said: 'On some nights now we can get up to 130 customers.

'We do lots of live music and recently had a Rod Stewart tribute night. We have a really good customer base. We are definitely moving in the right direction and things are on the up.'

That's also the view of regular customers, who enjoy the good 'craic' and camaraderie of the revamped pub, and more families are now expected to drop in with the new outside children's play area completed.

Mrs Fry does all the home cooking with locally sourced ingredients, and the couple feel they have finally hit the jackpot.

Mr Fry said: 'I'm originally from Hertfordshire and Pat's from Doncaster.

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'We have run seven pubs and a hotel before, so we should know what we are doing.

'We have run places in Mansfield, near Ely, near Scunthorpe, but this is the best one we've had.

'There's a lovely shape to the bar here; it's a lovely pub and we've got everything we need.'

Both agree that rural pubs need to offer something extra to persuade customers to get in their cars and pay a visit.

Mrs Fry said: 'Pubs that you have to drive to must be destination pubs. So we do karaoke, Halloween, live music; we've got a pool table, open mic night, and Sunday lunch is a big thing.

'We recently had a charity day for Scotty's Little Soldiers.

'And I'm doing a skydive for charity in October with barmaid Cassie Ridler.

'We are a traditional, family pub. We also have three real ales on. We have signed up for five years, with the possibility of another five after that, so we're here for the long-term.'