Today’s Pub of the Week is the Playhouse Bar next to Norwich Playhouse, which has enough real ales on sale to make it a worthy participant in the City of Ale event

There's a thin dividing line between a bar and a pub, and the Playhouse Bar in St George's Street definitely straddles it.

It always has three real ales on pump and it has stocked another nine as part of the City of Ale festival, which ends on Sunday and has been a 10-day celebration of pubs and brewing in Norwich.

Co-manager Annie Edwards said they take pride in the quality of the real ales and while the atmosphere during the daytime was similar to a bar, it felt more like a pub on nights and at the weekends.

The venue has enough regulars to rival most pubs in the city, and many of them come from the nearby art school.

But, judging by some of the students' comments, the reasons why people visit the Playhouse are certainly quirkier than for your average pub.


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A couple of the customers said they liked it because there was always a copy of the Guardian crossword at hand, as a photocopy, which they could do while supping.

Others said they liked the cheap chocolate bars, sausage rolls and flapjacks on sale, and the big fish tank inside the bar.

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More traditional reasons for paying a visit were the good beer and food, the lovely outside seating area, which is virtually enclosed by trees, the friendly atmosphere and the chance to meet new friends.

Miss Edwards, who used to run the students' union bar for the art school, said she would not complain if people who normally visited pubs in the area switched their allegiance, but they were doing just fine anyway.

She has worked at the bar for five years, but has been co-manager since last September.

She said they tried to welcome all types of people, and added: 'We are very eclectic, calm and accepting. I would say to people who go to the pubs in the area, try something different here.

'The booze we sell is eclectic and well-chosen. We do more different teas here – 30 – than anywhere else I know and we have live music on Monday nights, with the next event on Sunday.

'There are no slot machines, juke boxes or TVs in the bar, which we are proud of. We have monthly art exhibitions on the walls.

'All the outside tables at the bar are currently being redone and we will soon get a new awning. There are also plans to extend the bar.'

Norwich Playhouse owns the premises and Norwich's Last Wine Bar owns the bar business, she said. The Evening News has been urging people 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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