Lost city pub set to reopen within months

Andre Smith of Cans N Cocktails is taking over the Prince of Wales pub in Norwich

Andre Smith of Cans N Cocktails is taking over the Prince of Wales pub in Norwich - Credit: Denise Bradley/Sonya Duncan

A familiar boozer that has been empty for years is set to reopen in the city centre.

The Prince of Wales pub in the road of the same name was put up for sale in 2018 and closed soon after. 

But now Andre Smith, who owns Cans N Cocktails bar further down the road, has taken the pub on and is hoping to turn back the clock and pack the venue out.

Andre opened Cans N Cocktails only last year in the height of the pandemic. 

Cans 'N' Cocktails opens on Prince of Wales Road when Andre Smith will be mixing the cocktails Byli

Andre Smith of Cans N Cocktails in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"It will remain the Prince of Wales pub,"  he said. "When it was open it used to be almost a feeder pub for the road, so people would meet at the Prince of Wales and then go on to the bars.

"We're hoping that by re-offering that opportunity it will help us in Cans N Cocktails and bring more life back to Prince of Wales Road."

Works to fix water ingress will need to be done to the building as well as redecoration and modernise the venue. It should be open in the next two months, Andre said.

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"There'll be a kitchen and stuff in there and we're doing something different with the upstairs. It'll be more like an Airbnb," he added.

"So there'll be job creation in the license to trade industry and also in short-term accommodation."

The Prince of Wales pub before it's 170k makeover. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Prince of Wales pub back in 2013 - Credit: Archant 2013

The announcement comes after Cans N Cocktails reopened following a huge refurb, which took most of January to complete.

Thanking patrons for their custom which has allowed their expansion, Andre added: "Some of the support we've had is because we've been so outspoken on our views related to Covid, which has drawn quite a lot of attention to us.

"We're also on the forefront of protecting people from spiking, so people come to us because they feel safe in our venue.

"It's nice to do something because we believe it's the right thing to do. We wanted to do it, we're not doing it because people expect it of us. We got StopTopps first and then spiking became more of a prevalent issue, and then everyone else followed suit. 

"We've done it because we wanted to provide people with safety."

History of the Prince of Wales pub

What we now know as the Prince of Wales pub and restaurant premises opened as a hotel in 1870, and was registered as the Wine and Spirits Vault serving guests staying there in 1872.

In 1883 and 1889 it was listed as the Robinson Hotel, as well as the Prince of Wales Hotel in 1875.

During World War II the public house was damaged by the Nazis in the Baedeker raids. 

Norwich was targeted by the German Luftwaffe in 1940 and 1942 due to its cultural and historical value, with many parts of the city - both of economic and tourist value - badly damaged or completely destroyed.

In 2018 staff annoyed with the brewery put signs in the window saying they no longer had any sports channels or working toilets. It closed soon after.