NR2 pub gets major revamp under new management
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A city boozer has undergone a transformation from 'eyesore' to a sparking new venue.
The Belle Vue has been boarded up since its closure in December 2020 but now has had new life breathed into it.
Ben James, boss of the Belle Vue in NR2's St Philip's Road, has overseen a major revamp of the boozer and has plans to turn the venue into a community hub.
A woodfired pizza oven is being installed with pizza making lessons for kids in the pipeline.
There are also new family booths for those sitting down for a meal at the pub, in addition to new floor tiling around the bar, and a refurbished kitchen.
Mr James said: "This place was good for Sunday lunches 10 years ago but over the last couple of years, the pub was run into the ground and being used as a social club.
"I have been looking for a site in Norwich for two years and wanted to take it back to being a food-based pub.
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"We have had good feedback form the neighbourhood who are saying 'Thank god we have a community pub again'."
The pub has been completely renovated in nine months and employs a total of 10 people.
Mr James is also giving career opportunities to two people through the government's Kickstart Scheme, which creates jobs for 16 to 24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment.
And the pub will have a new vegan menu, as well as serving Sunday lunches, cocktails, craft beers and quirky wines.
Mr James, who is originally from Harrogate, will be introducing a new breakfast club with bottomless coffees, as well as baby classes for mums during the day.
"I want to make this place into a proper community place which runs different events," the pub chief added.
The food-led pub is making use of local suppliers including Swannington Farm to Fork and CH Wine Merchants in Badesfield.
In order to make the venue more family-friendly, Mr James has removed the pool table and gambling machines, as well as getting rid of live music events previously run by former tenants.
Lucy Galvin, city councillor for the Nelson Ward, said: "I am delighted to see this historic local business back up and running, restored and looking so good."