Today’s Pub of the Week is the Angel Gardens in north Norwich, where the owner will be celebrating 25 years in charge next January

Twenty-five years in charge at one pub is a long time, and Ian Warren, who owns the Angel Gardens, has seen many changes in that time.

When he took over the pub a quarter of a century ago next January there was more competition, because there were more pubs in the immediate area, but somehow they all seemed to make a living, he said.

'In the years I have been here, especially recently, I must have seen a pub a year close in the area.

'When I started we all made a living but now, even with fewer pubs, we still struggle.

'To keep on the game today you have got to run a really professional ship, and it's going to be tough at least for the next few years.'


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Some of the big game-changers over the years, he said, included the smoking ban which hit Norwich pubs especially hard, and the price supermarkets are allowed to charge for alcohol is another bugbear.

He added: 'The government does not help us by always increasing the prices.

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'It would help if they introduced a minimum price per unit of alcohol, and they could give us a break for a year or two by freezing the beer duty. Business rates, as well.

'Pubs are some of the only businesses that pay rates on turnover, which means that the more successful you are, the more money they are going to get from you.'

Mr Warren arrived at the pub as a tenant in 1988, and then took over the freehold a few years later.

For two years before that he ran the Coachmakers Arms in Great Yarmouth, and added: 'I have worked in pubs either part-time or full-time since I was about 19. It's nice meeting people and nice to make it a fun time for people.'

He's looking forward to the second City of Ale event in Norwich starting at the end of next month.

'People tend to stick to their own pubs now, so it will be good to get different people into the pub, and people from outside.'

The pub is also famous for its ladies' darts team, which finally found a home at the Angel Gardens after its previous four homes either closed or were no longer available.

The team used to play at three pubs that closed down – the King's Arms in Mile Cross Road, the Galley Hill pub in Drayton Road, and the James I in Drayton Road.

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 www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

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