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Former Norwich cinema transformed into ‘boutique’ bowling alley

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:44 16 March 2018

The former Merge restaurant building is being turned into a bowling alley. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The former Merge restaurant building is being turned into a bowling alley. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A former Norwich cinema is undergoing a transformation to reopen as a “boutique” bowling alley.

The City Gate pub on Dereham road, Norwich, part of the JD Wetherspoon group.

photo Simon Finlay
copy
For. EDP news
©EDP 2003 tel 01603 772434The City Gate pub on Dereham road, Norwich, part of the JD Wetherspoon group. photo Simon Finlay copy For. EDP news ©EDP 2003 tel 01603 772434

Bowling House will offer food, beer, wine and cocktails on its five lanes when it opens in the old Regal Cinema premises in Dereham Road on Saturday, March 24.

Managing director Jack Thompson said: “We’re so excited to be bringing something new and unique to Norwich. The building has been totally transformed and will be unrecognisable when it’s finished.

“We’ve assembled a great team and we can’t wait to open the doors. It’s been a really quick turnaround, work started in January so they’ve done a really good job. It’s a really nice building, it just needed some TLC.

“We can’t wait to get started and show everyone what we’ve been working on.”

A rare picture of Dereham Road just before the buildings came tumbling down in 1937 to make way for the Regal Cinema built by Thomas Gill & SonA rare picture of Dereham Road just before the buildings came tumbling down in 1937 to make way for the Regal Cinema built by Thomas Gill & Son

Originally the Regal Cinema, the building housed a bingo hall and casino before becoming derelict. It was then taken over by the Wetherspoons pub chain, which opened it as the City Gates pub in 1999. The building has remained empty since an all-you-can eat Asian buffet, Merge, closed its doors in November 2016.

The Merge restaurant hit headlines in 2015 as one of only a handful of venues in the city to receive a zero hygiene rating. While it had soon turned around its rating, it eventually closed its doors at the end of 2016.

Norwich City Council approved the application for Bowling House Ltd on August 18 last year.

The set up will be more adult orientated and it will be open from 12pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.

Bowling House will open on Saturday, March 24. Photo: Bowling HouseBowling House will open on Saturday, March 24. Photo: Bowling House

In a planning statement to Norwich City Council last year, agent McArthur Tring said: “The applicants intend to invest in the property and re-open it as a boutique restaurant/bowling alley.

“Pre-application discussions took place between the applicants and the local planning authority where it was established that there is no objection to the principle of such a use.”

Booking lines are now open for the bowling alley, for more information visit www.bowlinghouse.co.uk, call 01603 397412 or email bookings@bowlinghouse.co.uk


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