Jubilant scenes as pub punters enjoy first city Friday night back

Nell Basley, Frances Davies and Maya Elphick enjoy a drink at the Sir Garnet

Nell Basley, Frances Davies and Maya Elphick enjoy a drink at the Sir Garnet - Credit: Jess Coppins

The gleeful sound of clinking glasses and friends reuniting rippled through the city as pubgoers enjoyed their first Friday night after the latest lockdown easing.

Across the city, pubs welcomed punters once more, marking the end of their first week back in business.

And there was an overwhelming feeling of joy, relief and liberation as those thirst first pints were supped and cocktails quaffed. 

As the working week drew to a close, many were taking to pubs for the first time since before lockdown.

A group of friends enjoy a reunion at St Andrews Brewhouse

A group of friends enjoy a reunion at St Andrews Brewhouse - Credit: Jess Coppins

And for Frances Davies, of Diss, it was the first time ever - having turned 18 during lockdown. 


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She was joined by friends Nell Basley and Maya Elphick, both 19, at the Sir Garnet for a belated birthday celebration, where they shared pizza and her first drink - a bottle of BrewDog Vagabond.

Three friends share a drink and a pizza at the Sir Garnet

Three friends share a drink and a pizza at the Sir Garnet - Credit: Jess Coppins

She said: "It's such a relief to finally be able to meet friends again and be out."

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Miss Basley, from Acle, added: "I did feel a little bit anxious because for the last year I've got used to just having the company of my parents, but it's also lovely being back."

And alongside first-timers,  the evening also saw opportunities for those more seasoned to England's favourite pastime to catch up and enjoy a drink together - such as 56-year-old Jon Bird, 50-year-old James Freeman and 47-year-old Glenn Bridges - who chose the Ten Bells for their reunion.

James Freeman, Jon Bird and Glenn Bridges at the Ten Bells in Norwich

James Freeman, Jon Bird and Glenn Bridges at the Ten Bells in Norwich - Credit: Jess Coppins

Mr Bridges, an accounts director from Cringleford, said: "It feels liberating. It is just so good to be back at the pub with these two idiots and it's great to see Norwich alive again!"

Mr Bird added: "I'm freezing my socks off but it's worth it."

With restrictions preventing pubs from welcoming revellers indoors, many were taking advantage of new permissions to seat people on the pavement or outdoors.

Valerio Razzamo and Arianna Gasperimi at Arboretum

Valerio Razzamo and Arianna Gasperimi at Arboretum - Credit: Jess Coppins

Gregory Williams, landlord of Arboretum on St Benedict's Street, welcomed customers on makeshift hay bale tables and chairs, which were placed in the parking bays outside his door.

He said: "I feel us landlords have a duty to put these things on for people - it has been so long since they have been able to go out properly and we all need that. It's great to see St Benedict's buzzing again."

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