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'We want it out in the open' - concerns hidden gem Norwich bar could face closure

PUBLISHED: 08:39 15 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:58 17 September 2019

Jurnet's Bar hosts a music night every Friday. Photo: Nick Butcher

Jurnet's Bar hosts a music night every Friday. Photo: Nick Butcher

EDP pics © 2007

One of Norwich's best kept secrets wants to be discovered - or it says it could face closure.

Elaine Green in Jurnet's Bar, which is in a 12th century undercroft. Picture: Ruth LawesElaine Green in Jurnet's Bar, which is in a 12th century undercroft. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Despite a 40-year history, Jurnet's Bar, in Wensum Lodge on King Street, has just a handful of online reviews and staff are worried a lack of customers could result in closure within a year.

Its concerns have been heightened by new financial woes, after a lease agreement with Norfolk County Council, which owns it, came to an end.

Jurnet's Bar is one of Norwich's hidden gems. Picture: Ruth LawesJurnet's Bar is one of Norwich's hidden gems. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Michael Goodings, the bar's secretary, said: "There is a question mark over the bar's survival and we need your help. It is without a doubt one of Norwich's hidden gems but we want it come out in the open."

The 68-year-old, from Norwich, said: "The bar is nestled in a 12th century undercroft where revellers can enjoy alcoholic and soft drinks in a grade-listed underground cavern.

"It's just so unique. There is nothing like it in Norwich and, as far as we know, the rest of the UK.

"The building is an important part of the history and heritage of the Norfolk. It's been here so long and it's very important. Places like this just don't exist anymore."

READ MORE: Support pours in for hidden bar with concerns for its future

The bar, which is a free to join member's club for over 18s, also hosts "vibrant" music nights every Friday and is a key venue for local performers.

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Cabaret, comedy, music, story-telling and poetry reading events are often held.

Mr Goodings said: "Performers find the atmosphere contributes to their show. It would be a real shame to lose it so we need as much support as possible."

Under the bar's current agreement, its lease is funded by the council and it runs as a not-for-profit.

But at the end of the month that agreement will end.

A spokesperson for Norfolk County Council said: "We are developing a range of exciting proposals for Wensum Lodge that will progress and secure its adult learning, community and artistic elements.

"As part of this it has been necessary to review the site's leases in order to regulate them and ensure they provide a fair rent."

The council added that Jurnet's Bar was informed in April about the lease change and, due to financial constraints, a fair rent going forward was reasonable.

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