City pub 'full of life again' after busy opening weekend

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, reopens the pub with her partner, John Hinds.

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, reopens the pub with her partner, John Hinds. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022

Pub-goers have relished seeing a city watering hole "full of life again" during a busy opening weekend.

The Belle Vue reopened its doors on Friday, July 1, after landlady Sarah Johnson and her partner John Hinds took over the reins last month.

The pair worked long hours to get the Stafford Street pub ready and kicked things off with a disco and karaoke.

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, reopens the pub with her partner, John Hinds, and her son,

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, reopens the pub with her partner, John Hinds, and her son, David Stephenson. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022

Ms Johnson said: "We've had a really lovely weekend.

"Since we opened it has been really busy with lots of people having a good time.

"Everybody said it was great to see the place full of life again with people enjoying themselves.

The newly reopened Belle Vue pub.

The newly reopened Belle Vue pub. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022

"Our disco night on Friday was great and people stopped by after spending the day at the Lord Mayor's Celebrations and joined in with the karaoke."

Ms Johnson is originally from Lowestoft and has more than 20 years of experience working in hospitality.

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Following a brief career change prompted by the Covid pandemic, she has now returned to the occupation she loves.

"When Covid hit, the pub I worked at in Carlton Colville closed and with lockdown closing pubs I changed to a career in the care sector," she said. "But I always wanted to return to the pub trade and when this opportunity came up I had to follow my dream.

"I love speaking with customers and am always ready to lend an ear if someone has had a tough day.

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, in the pub garden.

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, in the pub garden. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022

"When we moved in on June 15 it was all systems go and we were working from 5.30am to about 11pm each day getting everything ready."

The pair have renovated the pub garden and have also updated the seating at the front of the pub.

Inside, there is a pool table, jukebox and fruit machine and it is hoped in the future the pub can have its own pool and darts team.

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, reopens the pub with her partner, John Hinds.

Landlady at the Belle Vue, Sarah Johnson, reopens the pub with her partner, John Hinds. - Credit: Denise Bradley/Archant 2022

Ms Johnson added: "We really want to make the Belle Vue a fun and friendly place with a warm atmosphere.

"Hopefully we can revive the place and bring it back to a traditional pub feel."