Tea room, pie parlour and gin bar opened at Lowestoft’s historic Ropeworks building
- Credit: James Bass
A historic Lowestoft building has been given a new lease of life with a tea room, pie parlour and gin bar split over three floors.
The Ropeworks in Battery Green Road has been reopened by Mandy and Ian Harper, who also run Tea by the Sea in Pakefield.
The building was built in 1852 by the Gourock Ropeworks company, a multi-national business based on the outskirts of Glasgow trading to shippers, fishermen and merchants throughout the world. Built originally with just two floors, it is believed to have been the company's only building in this area.
In more recent years it was home to furniture store Ananas and Dansk, and then became an antiques shop before being put on the market around a year ago by the previous owner.
It was then that Mrs Harper, who has a background in catering having previously owned A Piece of Cake in Lowestoft, a sandwich round and an outside catering company, had a vision to reopen it as a business to suit all tastes.
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She said: 'I was sat in traffic and I saw it was for sale and I thought I have got to have a look at it. I just loved it and said there and then I wanted it.
'It's such a big building so I think people didn't know what to do with it, but I knew straight away.
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'The building just blew me away. There is such a lot of history here and there are still the hatches on the floor where they would have hung the fishing nets.'
Mr Harper, 55, worked as a scaffolder at Sizewell for 15 years, but gave up his job last September when they took on the building.
Together they have turned the ground floor into Tea by the Quay, a vintage themed tea room serving light lunches and homemade cakes, baked by Mrs Harper at home. On the first floor is the Bar and Pie Parlour, offering award-winning Pieminister pies and homemade mash. And on the top floor, under the name the Gin Landing, is a stylish bar open Friday and Saturday nights with a menu of over 30 different gins among the fully stocked bar.
Mrs Harper, 53, said: 'We used to go to the Gin Palace in Norwich and we loved it. Gin seems to be the in thing at the moment and we have had so many people who have walked in and said they don't like gin, but once they have tried one of our fruity gins they say it tastes completely different and love it.'
The first and second floors were opened on March 17, with the tea room launched a couple of weeks ago.
Mrs Harper added: 'Everyone loves the building and people have said it is like being in Norwich or London because we don't have anything like this in Lowestoft.
'We have kept a lovely building in the style that it was before, but brought it back to life again. We are so pleased with it.'
The couple have four daughters, three of which work at The Ropeworks, with the fourth helping behind the scenes between her job as a nurse. They employ ten people in total.
The Ropeworks is also available for private hire and the top floor hosts live music most weekends. On May 16, a Pint of Science will be holding its Trash Bang Scallop event at the building as part of its visit to five venues in the Norwich area. For more details visit www.pintofscience.co.uk/event/trash-bang-scallop.
Tea by the Quay is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm, the Bar and Pie Parlour is open everyday from noon and the Gin Landing is open Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm until 1am.
To book a table call 01502 451496 or visit https://www.facebook.com/RopeWorksLowestoft/
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