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Focus on the Ketts Tavern, Norwich

PUBLISHED: 14:50 21 January 2011

Ketts Tavern, Norwich; Dawn and Kevin Hopkins

Ketts Tavern, Norwich; Dawn and Kevin Hopkins

Archant Norfolk 2011

This week our Love Your Local Pub of the Week feature spotlights the Ketts Tavern in Ketts Hill, Norwich. Every week we will focus on a pub in the area, talk to the landlords and chat about their backgrounds, and speak to pub regulars about why they love it.

Husband and wife Kevin and Dawn Hopkins – who own and operate both the Ketts Tavern, Ketts Hill and The Rose, Queens Road in Norwich – are planning for the future.

The couple bought the Ketts Tavern in 2000 and the Rose three years later and have also set up their own brewery, called the Norwich Bear Company. ‘Bear’ is how Norfolk people pronounce ‘beer’, Mrs Hopkins said.

While both their pubs are successful and packed with happy customers on most days of the week, they realise that tough times call for something extra.

That’s why in the future they will be concentrating more on the food part of their pubs and doing what they can to attract not just locals but people from outside the city through their doors.

Mr Hopkins said: “We have got plans to open a microbrewery at the Rose in late spring and are hoping that both pubs can become beer emporiums with more bottled ales on sale.

“We want to make going to the pub more of an event in itself. We will have taster trays and are moving both pubs more towards being food-oriented.

“With the current economic climate less people from the local area are going out, not just to pubs but anywhere. So we need to find a focus to get more people to come to the pubs from further afield and attract a new customer market.

“To do that we need to get in different beers and the food has to be very local and seasonal and fresh.”

The couple seem so at ease in their pubs today that onlookers may assume both had the pub industry in their veins.

But Mr Hopkins said: “The day we opened the Ketts Tavern was the first time either of us had ever pulled a pint.

“But both of us like beer and it had been an ambition for a long time to run our business. We have both got marketing backgrounds as well, and we felt that we could run a pub better than how a lot of people did.”

They decided to buy both pubs partly because Mr Hopkins has been a Norwich City season ticketholder for 10 years, and both pubs are fairly close to Carrow Road, and attract large numbers of football fans on match days.

Mrs Hopkins added: “It’s really hard work running tow pubs but we still enjoy it. I cannot see us doing anything else in the near future.”

The Evening News has been urging punters to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign. To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Next week’s Pub of the Week is the Walnut Tree Shades in Norwich city centre.

■ Do you think your pub has the history, character and regulars to make it as our Pub of the Week? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

HISTORY

The Ketts Tavern is located just off Mousehold Heath.

The building is known to date back at least to the 1800s, and the pub was once known as Kett’s Castle.

After 1976 it was known as the Old Bill, and had a clever theme with punters sitting in cells.

It was renamed Ketts Tavern from about 1980.

There used to be another pub next door, called the Ostrich, which has since been demolished. Both pubs suffered damage by bombing in April 1942.

The pub takes its name from Kett’s rebellion which began in July 1549.

Robert Kett set up a base on Mousehold Heath, just outside Norwich.

People from all around the area, including Norwich itself, joined Kett on the heath such that their numbers amounted to around 15,000.

Kett led the men to an attack on Norwich, apparently with pitchforks, sticks and mud, and effectively assumed temporary control of the city. He was later hanged.

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