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City pub transforms to be ‘heart of the community’

PUBLISHED: 05:23 04 July 2020

Staff at the Norkie are preparing to welcome back their customers on July 4. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Staff at the Norkie are preparing to welcome back their customers on July 4. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A pub in Norwich has had a complete transformation as it plans to reopen as “the heart of the community.”

Manager of The Norkie Dione Howard in front of the new graffiti wall by Ruth Knapp  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNManager of The Norkie Dione Howard in front of the new graffiti wall by Ruth Knapp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A mural by a well-know graffiti artist and a kitted-out pub garden are among changes at The Norkie, which is under new management, in Bowthorpe.

Both the inside and outside have been revamped as staff hope to make the pub “more family friendly” when it reopens on July 4.

Improvements include a new bar, new tables and chairs, redecoration and a landscaped pub garden.

The garden now boasts a feature mural, which has been designed to make everyone feel welcome, by artist Ruth Knapp, who painted a Black Lives Matter graffiti mural in Norwich last month.

Manager of The Norkie Dione Howard in front of the new graffiti wall by Ruth Knapp  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNManager of The Norkie Dione Howard in front of the new graffiti wall by Ruth Knapp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Rachel Parks, barmaid, said: “We’ve had a few people poke their head around and they’ve all said what a great job we’ve done and how different it all looks.

“People have even been taking pictures of the mural, which looks fantastic, as it is visible from the car park.

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“We commissioned the mural because with everything going on at the moment in the world, we wanted to let everyone know that they are welcome.

Staff at The Norkie are looking forward to welcoming back their customers on July 4. L-R Iain Cameron, Amie Snelling, Rachel Parks, Dione Howard, Graham and Wendy Oddy, Emma Reynolds.Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStaff at The Norkie are looking forward to welcoming back their customers on July 4. L-R Iain Cameron, Amie Snelling, Rachel Parks, Dione Howard, Graham and Wendy Oddy, Emma Reynolds.Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“We are very much planning for this pub to be for the family and at the heart of the community - and as soon as you walk in you can feel it.”

As well as the renovation, the pub has also introduced a series of measures to keep customers and staff safe amid coronavirus.

These include table service, tables spaced at least 2m apart, all glasses collected by staff rather than brought to the bar, hand sanitiser throughout the pub and, for those customers who do order at the bar, there will be a collection point for drinks.

Customers who want to use the toilet must get a key for a bar and a one in one out system applies.

Staff at The Norkie are preparing to welcome back their customers on July 4. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStaff at The Norkie are preparing to welcome back their customers on July 4. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dionne Howard, who has been the bar manager at The Norkie for ten years, said: “The whole pub is completely different and we’ve worked for weeks solid sorting everything out and getting it ready and safe for customers.

“I’m a bit nervous about reopening but I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing everyone again.”

In the future, the pub plans to open up the restaurant and serve typical ‘pub grub’ including roast dinners, burgers and fish and chips.


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