Today’s Norwich Pub of the Week is the Gate House in Dereham Road, which has an ‘old worldy’ charm all its own

Regulars at The Gate House are proud the pub has not changed in decades, and the landlord and owner John Gates has a certain 'blast from the past' charm, as well.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday he dresses up in a bow tie and white shirt and with his moustache he looks like the kind of Victorian gentleman you see in old photographs.

During the week he wears a striped white shirt.

He has been at the pub for 15 years and previously ran a wine bar called Pickwicks in Chiswick, west London, where he used to dress up behind the bar as Mr Pickwick, of Charles Dickens' fame.

He was in partnership at Pickwicks and his partner wanted to sell up, so he had to move.

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It took him six months to find a new business, eventually discovering his perfect pub at The Gate House, where the huge garden stretches down to the river Wensum, and the loyal regulars keep him busy.

Mr Gates said: 'Most of the locals live within walking distance of the pub.

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'Some of the regulars here have been coming for years and many go back generations.

'A lot of them have been coming here since they were old enough to drink.

'They have married but stayed in the area and have continued to come in.

'And the pub's the same. The interior has not changed much in the last 40 years and we are famous for having an 'olde worlde' feel.

'I also try to keep the old pumps on the bar, as some of the new fonts are hideous.'

The pub also serves four real ales, which are becoming increasingly popular, and the new folk music nights are starting to bring in the crowds.

'The folk music on Sunday and Wednesday nights are very successful and we often have up to 16 people playing instruments on a Sunday,' he added.

'We started that last May, and are quite pleased about it.'

During Mr Gates' time at the pub he has witnessed many changes, but he believes one has had the biggest impact on the industry.

'The smoking ban has had the biggest effect.

'The ban should have allocated a room for smokers, as everyone lost 20pc of their trade.

'While you can still smoke outside, in the cold weather you get hypothermia.'

The Evening News has been urging customers to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.

To see more stories from the campaign visit

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