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Historic Norwich pub to reopen

PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:33 01 July 2010

New landlords of the Gibraltar Gardens pub: Simon Shimman and Paul Thomas

New landlords of the Gibraltar Gardens pub: Simon Shimman and Paul Thomas

David Bale

A popular city pub reopens next week and the new people in charge said they want it to become a 'tourist destination'.

The Gibraltar Gardens, in Heigham Street, has been closed since January, but it reopens on Friday, July 2 after undergoing a £100,000 makeover.

A popular city pub reopens next week and the new people in charge said they want it to become a “tourist destination”.

The Gibraltar Gardens, in Heigham Street, has been closed since January, but it reopens on Friday, July 2 after undergoing a £100,000 makeover.

Business partners Simon Shimmon and Paul Thomas, who have taken it over, are hoping to cash in on a perceived gap in the market in the area.

Mr Thomas said: “We had a walk around the other day and there are not many pubs at this end of town, so I think we will do well.

“We have repainted the pub and it's been redecorated inside, and it has a new kitchen, fixtures and fittings, and new signage, although the name is the same.

“We want to create a family dining venue and we have been recruiting new staff and held interviews last week.

“It will also be affordable, which will be popular after what happened in the Budget this week. And we want it to be a tourist destination.”

Both men have many years' experience in the pub and leisure trade and were chefs in previous incarnations.

Mr Shimmon will predominantly lead on the kitchen side of the new business, while Mr Thomas will be front of house.

Mr Thomas said: “We want it to have a nice, warm, breezy feel to it, and be somewhere where families can come out for dinner and you can take your girlfriend to, where they won't be any trouble.”

While the pub is having a “soft” reopening on July 2, Mr Thomas said there would be a bigger reopening on August Bank Holiday, Monday, August 30.

As reported, the pub, which is owned by pub group Enterprise Inns, closed earlier this year, when the retailers unexpectedly decided to cease trading.

The pub had been run by Irvin and Jo Verret, who in July 2008 returned from retirement in Florida to rescue the business which they had previously run.

Their return was prompted by the bankruptcy of the previous tenants, Richard Jacques and Deborah Williams, who is the Verrets' daughter.

The Gibraltar Gardens has been a pub since at least the 18th century and parts of the building date back another 300 years.

Its name is believed to have come from the capture in 1704 of Gibraltar by Sir Cloudesley Shovell, who was from Norfolk.

The Evening News' Love Your Local Campaign aims to get people back into pubs

For more stories on the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal.

Have you got a pubs story? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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