'Size does matter': Trio reveal opening date after Covid delay

Malt and Mardle Norwich

The three friends who are opening a new micropub next month, with an official launch date. - Credit: Archant

Three friends who have been working on launching a micropub in Norwich have announced they are opening on July 22.

Elliot Dransfield, Emily Bridges and Johnny Durant had hoped to get The Malt and Mardle open in June. The new venue, in a former shop unit in Magdalen Street, of just 334sqft, had aimed to cater for up to 40 customers.

But with Covid rules still in force limiting numbers, the opening was put back. Meanwhile it has given the team more time to finish work going on to transform the building.

Miss Bridges said: "We're really excited to be opening. We haven't rushed the work because of the restrictions in how many people can be in the pub.

"The delay in lockdown restrictions announced on Monday slightly scuppered plans.

"While our micro space and stocking of real ale is something we feel makes The Malt and Mardle special, these two factors make operating under restrictions a bit tricky -distancing limits how many people can come into the pub and real ale goes to waste if it isn't drunk quickly.

"The great news is we can fully open on July 22 knowing we've had a little more time to spend on finishing touches, we're stocked up and raring to go and most importantly, things are a bit safer."  

Malt and Mardle Norwich

Inside the new Malt and Mardle which is fast taking shape. - Credit: Malt and Mardle

Having met at the University of Leeds in 2013 as undergraduates, the trio all now live in Norwich and last year decided to realise their dream of opening their first community pub. They started the Lazy Ale firm and obtained planning and an alcohol licence for the premises.

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They aim to sell a simple selection of quality real ales and as a result recently gained the support of the local branch of Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale.

The concept of micropubs see small venues put to use and others exist across Norwich and Norfolk such as in the market place, North Walsham, King's Lynn and Cromer.

A Camra spokesman said: "They are a welcome addition to the high street and would be good for Norwich at a time when so many pubs are closing for good."

The shop in 163, Magdalen Street was once a hair and beauty business and more recently the Norwich branch of Great Yarmouth-based Flint Motorcycles.