One of the smallest bars in the UK is opening in Norwich this weekend!
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Could Sir Toby's overtake The Little Prince in Margate as the most petite pub in the country?
At just over 4msq there are just four stools at Norwich's latest bar- with standing room for 15...so it's cosy then.
And where will you find this novelty? Down on the award-winning market - more specifically Sir Toby's Beers, which has doubled its stall size, installed a counter and draught lines - and has become the market's only licensed bar.
And all this just 15 months since business partners Toby Westgarth (formerly of Naked Wines) and cocktail barman Dominic Burke, pulled up the shutters on the original beer shop.
It has been a long slog to get their licence say the pair, involving multiple meetings with the police and city council to ensure their plans are feasible and safe.
"And we're now probably one of the smallest bars known to man," says Toby. "We've worked really hard since January to get a change of licence and now we've got a bit of a reputation and showed our commitment and built up that trust they're allowing us to serve from midday. There were a lot of discussions about it and it certainly didn't happen overnight but it was important to get it right."
Sir Toby's Beers started out with 99% local brews but the explosion of interest in the craft beer market has meant an ever-growing and weekly-changing offering is now part and parcel of what the stall has become known for.
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Most of the beers are kept at 4% in fridges, ready to drink, although Toby says the new licence only covers them for drinkers 'on the premises' - so you can't just go wandering off with a can in-hand.
"We want to encourage people to go and grab a snack from the market, and bring it into the bar to have with one of our beers. It'll be really sociable. You can perch, set yourself up and have a great time."
Toby and Dom are working with local supplier Jolly Good Beer to install a direct draw bar, meaning the line is very short from keg to glass. There'll eventually be three on tap, supplementing the huge variety of canned and bottled beers, as well as sparkling wine on draught.
"Dom is the cocktail king so on Saturdays, starting in a couple of weeks, we'll kick those off with a classic Dark and Stormy."
On draught at the moment, and available to try at this Sunday's Proudly Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, is a creamy, sweet Chocolate Fudge Cake stout from Manchester brewery Wander Beyond, as well as Blimey's Amity Island - a nice drop of double dry hopped pale ale coming in at 5.2%.
"The secret to our success really is the fact we have a small amount of beer delivered two to three times a week and that keeps our offering different all the time. So if someone's a sour beer fan and they come in a week after their first visit, there will always be six or seven new beers for them to try. It makes it all feel fresh and exciting all the time."
Toby's favourite beers
1. Our most expensive (£10.20) is a 10% Coconut and Tea Leaf stout made by Cloudwater. It has a coconutty vibe and is basically a Bounty bar in a can!
2. Crunch. That's a peanut butter milk stout and one of our best-sellers. It's a dark beer but has a bit of sweetness running through it and they use ground peanuts to flavour it.
3. We love Ampersand, they're awesome…and local. We've got their Bidon. It's a 3.9% session ale. Really fruity and a great beer. We hope to have that on draught soon.
4. People love sour beers and our most recent one is Watermelon and Sea Salt. It's absolutely delicious.
5. We've got four 0.5% beers including a stout from Big Drop and a range of table beers at around the 2.8% mark. One of the best we have is from Kernal and it's actually called Table Beer and has an ABV of 3%.
The UK's official smallest pub was The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds (15ft by 7ft) but the title was stolen in 2016 by The Little Prince in Margate at 11ft by 6.6ft.