Garden revamp and beer bottle shop among changes for city pubs in 2022
- Credit: Archant
After a challenging couple of years, city publicans are optimistic for what 2022 will bring with plenty of exciting changes planned.
While many pubs across Norwich are confident the worst of the coronavirus restrictions are behind them, they are still prepared to adapt their service should any further government guidelines emerge.
The recently revamped Belle Vue in St Philips Road will be spending £30,000 on its garden area which is expected to be completed by early April.
A children's climbing frame, new decking, covered tables and lamps will be built on the grassland after pubs were allowed to reopen with outdoor service as part of the roadmap out of lockdown last spring.
Belle Vue owner Ben James said: "We do not think there will be another lockdown but nobody knows what Boris will say.
"We are just optimistic it will improve slowly throughout the next year and return to normality by spring."
Colin Keatley, owner of The Fat Cat in West End Street, will also be busy in the new year after buying another property.
The businessman will be taking over the former photocopier shop at the end of West End Street with plans for a beer bottle store and food operation at the site.
Mr Keatley said it is a case of "onwards and upwards" after a "rubbish couple of years" for the industry.
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"I am always optimistic and if you are pessimistic as a publican, then you should not be in the trade," Mr Keatley said.
"I think we are over the worst of it and should recover by spring. Norwich is a buzzy little city so we can always attract people here."
Nick and Briony De'Ath - who run the Red Lion at Bishopgate, Unthank Arms, Trafford Arms, William and Florence and Chambers Cocktail Company - are feeling hopeful for the future.
They intend to make holiday accommodation available at a couple of their pubs as "an exciting new challenge" in 2022.
This is in response to the popularity of staycations and mini-breaks in the UK in recent months.
Mrs De'Ath added: "We're hoping for a year with a lot fewer surprises that we need to react to.
"Our team have been amazing over the last couple of years but it would be nice for them to be able to concentrate on good old-fashioned hospitality.
"We'll have to see what the next few weeks and months bring us but we're feeling positive about the future."
Those visiting pubs have become accustomed to table service and ordering through apps on their phone during the pandemic period.
And Phil Cutter, landlord of The Murderers in Timber Hill believes this will be a lasting legacy of Covid which they will continue in 2022.
He said: "Not just The Murderers, but lots of pubs have taken table service to another level.
"You still can't beat the buzz of people standing around chatting but most pubs now have the infrastructure to serve to the table.
"It is not necessarily even with restrictions that pubs reintroduce table service. A lot of places use it as a tool to make customer service better.
"We now have a better Wi-Fi system and handheld card machines throughout the pub so I think we will utilise that more."
The landlord is particularly looking forward to the postponed Norwich City of Ale festival in May and believes 2022 will prove "much easier than this time last year".
Licensee Rita McCluskey, of The Adam and Eve in Bishopgate is hoping 2022 will bring better weather in the summer for people to sit outside the pub.
Although she is hopeful of the Covid situation easing off, she has already noticed brewers' prices are jumping up from February this year.
She said: "The worrying thing is prices are going up and I think the increases are quite substantial.
"I am just hoping there is a gradual ease so we can stay open later without the risk of people being infected, and that there is more consumer confidence."