Landlord promises city pub will stay open despite custom dropping by half
- Credit: Ben Hardy
A 70-year-old publican has vowed to battle on for another five years despite seeing customer numbers plummet.
Philip Birchall, owner of the Eaton Cottage in Mount Pleasant, has run the pub for 20 years with the pandemic proving his biggest obstacle yet.
He said: "It's been a very hard time. I have reacted to the government advice and I try to keep everything going.
"Covid has had an impact. Lots of people do not come here anymore. There has been long-term damage because of Covid."
Mr Birchall said the number of customers is around 50pc down compared to pre-pandemic levels.
But he is absolutely determined to keep his dog-friendly pub going for another five years.
He hopes that the site will see a bounce back, describing his two decades so far as largely having "gone very well".
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In a bid to entice punters back the landlord has organised a happy hour as well as continuing to screen live football as Norwich City fans have visited "for years and years".
A Canaries flag is proudly hung from the wall as people enter the quaint pub.
Mr Birchall has also tried to limit the numbers of people coming into the pub at once with pub crawls being banned without prior arrangement.
Amanda Gillard, manager of the pub, echoed Mr Birchall's determination to keep the pub going, which is located just off Unthank Road in the Golden Triangle.
"My heart is in it so I really hope everyone will be the same," she said.
Speaking about the impact of the pandemic, she added: "It was really intense and busy after all the regulations were lifted but it seems to have died down. I guess people have gone back to work and normal patterns.
"We had to really make sure people were safe and that there were no more than groups of six but it is not like that now. It's been a really odd situation and strange couple of years."
Bartender Silvie Marshall added: "Some people are still paranoid. I think the novelty has worn off and it has gone back to normal for many people."