A different beat for the Bridge House
There's only a few dozen yards - and Riverside Road - between them, but this pub seems to be destined to be forever in the shadow of the Red Lion.While its more popular near neighbour on the opposite side of Bishop Bridge woos in those enjoying a riverside walk to sit by the water's edge, the Bridge House, so near yet so far from the Wensum, struggles to get people to cross that psychological barrier that is the busy road.
There's only a few dozen yards - and Riverside Road - between them, but this pub seems to be destined to be forever in the shadow of the Red Lion.
While its more popular near neighbour on the opposite side of Bishop Bridge woos in those enjoying a riverside walk to sit by the water's edge, the Bridge House, so near yet so far from the Wensum, struggles to get people to cross that psychological barrier that is the busy road.
It's not that the Red Lion can trump it in terms of history. The Bridge House dates back to the 17th century and has an interesting past, being one of the first inns to be built outside the city walls. The Georgian built Lion, with its popular waterside terrace, is a mere whippersnapper in comparison.
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However, though it's an attractive enough pub, with leaded windows, black and white beamed ceiling and huge red brick fireplace, its long suffered with a rough-and-ready appearance and reputation. In fairness though, things seem to have improved in recent months.
The outside has been spruced up and they've reinvented the pub as something of a club venue, with regular DJ nights involving Pam's House and Oblivion that have tempted in more than just hardened drinkers.
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Inside the décor is fairly basic. Essentially one large, open room, dominated by that huge fireplace and with seating around by the windows and an empty space between the two. There's a second small smug-style area further back and a rear room with pool table which leads out into a small, uninspiring garden.
At the bar there not much to appeal to real ale fans, the selection being limited to big brand name lagers and Guinness, which is a shame.
Hopefully the recent improvement will continue. But at the moment, unless you're one of the up-for-it club night crowd, you cannot help coming away without feeling they're not making the most of the pub's history and location.
t Bridge House, 69-71 Riverside Road, Norwich, 01603 625701, www.thebridgehousepub.com
t Real ales: None
t Disabled access: Yes
t TV sports: Yes
t Garden: Yes
t Music: Live/Jukebox
t Food: No