Shock as one of Norwich’s Golden Triangle pubs closes
- Credit: Bill Smith - Archant
A popular city pub appears to have been forced to close at short notice amid reports of a hefty repair bill to fix the wall surrounding the venue's beer garden.
It is understood that The York Tavern, in Leicester Street, closed its doors for the last time on Saturday.
Members of the Norwich Ukulele Society, which regularly met at the Golden Triangle pub, were told the news on Saturday and invited to 'one last knees-up' at the pub that evening.
Liam Capper-Starr, who leads the society, told members on Facebook: 'I only found out today (October 18), but it is with a heavy heart that I have been asked to inform you that the York Tavern is no more.'
Nobody from Enterprise Inns – which owns the pub – was available to give a statement and the Evening News has been unable to speak to the landlords of the pub.
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However, Mr Capper-Starr's post on Facebook said the closure was related to a hefty bill – potentially of more than £20,000 – to replace a wall.
'It was recently discovered that the wall that surrounds the beer garden has crumbled on both sides and along with the trees along its edge, the whole thing has to come down and be rebuilt,' he said.
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He said on Facebook that the pub's landlord Andy Bolton and his wife Jo had asked him to say 'thank you to everyone that came there over the years and made the York Tavern what it was'.
Mr Capper-Starr told the Evening News the Norwich Ukulele Society had regularly met at the pub for more than four years.
About the pub's closure, he said: 'I think it is a real shame. It was a very popular pub.'
He said the society was currently focusing on the Uke East festival taking place at Hellesdon Community Centre this Saturday, and after that the society would look at other options of where it could meet.
The Evening News has been unable to contact Mr and Mrs Bolton, but people living in the area have spoken of how they are shocked and saddened at the pub's closure.
Thomas Weeks, a 20-year-old University of East Anglia student, lives opposite the pub.
He said: 'We only went there on Thursday. I honestly had no idea. I'm really sad actually. It's such a lovely place and the food is really good. It's always busy, there's always a nice atmosphere in there. I'm shocked. I thought business was really good.'
Beverley Scott, who also lives close to the York Tavern, heard about the pub's closure via Norwich Ukulele Society.
'I have lived here for nine years and it's been such a lovely pub. It was a 'proper pub' and when so many are closing in the country it is a shame to see it go.'
Fellow neighbour Catherine Mapes, 74, said it had always been a very friendly pub and that she was sad to see it close.
The York Tavern Cycling Club was also based at the pub.
Chris Higgins, landlord of the Trafford Arms, in Grove Road, said the closure of the York Tavern was 'a great loss to the community' and that the pub had 'always been part and parcel of the area.'
'It's a great loss and I'm very sorry to hear the couple have lost their business,' he said.
'I can only assume it was a full repairing lease which means the leasee is responsible for all the maintenance bills inside and out...it seems draconian to suggest somebody suddenly gets a £20,000 bill and that is the end of their business. You would think there would be some kind of negotiation.'
Warren Wordsworth, chairman of the Norwich and Norfolk Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said he was 'a bit shocked' to hear the pub had closed.
He said: 'I am very sad to hear that it has closed. It's quite a popular pub. I hope it is not going to be permanent.'
City pub historian Derek McDonald said: 'I'm surprised. I always thought the pub was doing quite well.
'It's been going since 1878. It will be a sad loss. I hope that they get it going again.'
Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers in Norwich, said: 'Any pub closing is always sad news. It's unfortunate that pubs are really struggling in the economic climate that we have got. That's the way the industry is going, there's lots of good pubs and publicans dropping out of the trade because we are not making vast amounts of money any more. It's very difficult.'
He added: 'I think it is sad whenever any pub closes and to see two such good operators go is a real shame for the industry and pubs in Norfolk generally.'