Broads pub once visited by Chelsea players shuts for good

The Yare pub in Brundall which has been closed.

The Yare pub in Brundall which has been closed. - Credit: Evelyn Simak/Geograph

A popular riverside Broads village pub that once saw the entire Chelsea football team drop in for a pint has closed down.

The Yare in Brundall has served its final customers after owners said factors including Covid meant they had decided to call time.

Regulars at The Yare in Brundall during the final weekend.

Regulars at The Yare in Brundall during the final weekend. - Credit: Alan Jary

The pub, which is adjacent to Broom boatyard and Brundall railway station, had been owned and run by business partners Mike DiMarco and Paul Lancaster since the 1970s.

In a message to customers they said they had taken the decision to “regretfully” close at the end of November, adding: “It’s such a shame we finally have to say goodbye.”

Mike DiMarco in Chelsea top behind the bar at The Yare in Brundall during the final weekend.

Mike DiMarco in Chelsea top behind the bar at The Yare in Brundall during the final weekend. - Credit: Alan Jary

“We apologise for the short notice but having considered all other options, none were feasible,” they said. “Old age, we’re both 70 soon, ill health and Covid and various factors all conspired against us. 

“We would like to thank you all for your support over the years and as we are both remaining in the area we will see you around.”

Yare co-owner Paul Lancaster behind the bar on its final weekend.

Yare co-owner Paul Lancaster behind the bar on its final weekend. - Credit: Alan Jary

Loyal regulars attended a final weekend send-off with many more taking to social media to express sadness at the closure. 

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Dawn Hurrell posted: “What great memories we all have of some fabulous nights at the Yare. Thank you Paul, Mike and everyone who has ever worked behind that iconic bar. Will miss you, it’s indeed very sad.”

Regulars during the final weekend at The Yare in Brundall.

Regulars during the final weekend at The Yare in Brundall. - Credit: Alan Jary

Denise Groombridge added: “We’ve introduced some of our friends to The Yare over the years and they’ve been overwhelmed by the nautical decor. They loved it and so do we.”

A highlight of 40 years behind the bar for Mr DiMarco, an ardent Chelsea fan and Stamford Bridge regular, was when the team took up an invitation to visit The Yare in 1982 after a league match against Norwich.

As Norwich managed to add to Chelsea's relegation woes with a 2-1 win, it was all the more surprising for Mr DiMarco when the Blues turned up on their team coach, accompanied by two police outriders.

Mike DiMarco recalling when Chelsea visited

Mike DiMarco recalling when the Chelsea football team called in at the Yare pub in Brundall on the 25th anniversary of the 1982 visit. - Credit: Archant

Recalling it 20 year later, Mr DiMarco said: “The glamour era of Peter Osgood and the King's Road had long gone and Chelsea were at their lowest point near the foot of the old second division.

"Ken Bates had just bought the club for £1, taking on all their debts, and that's probably why they were happy to accept my invitation to the pub."

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