New landlord at the Woolpack in Norwich city centre has big boots to fill

Andrew Coe who is the new landlord of the Woolpack in Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Andrew Coe who is the new landlord of the Woolpack in Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

New Woolpack landlord Andrew Coe has big boots to fill, after taking over from John Cooke, who has taken early retirement.

Mr Cooke was landlord at the popular city centre pub for 21 years, and Mr Coe said: 'I know John's are huge boots to fill in and it's impossible to do that. But I want to put my own mark on the pub.'

Born and bred in Norwich, he has been running function centres on the outskirts of the city catering for weddings and birthday parties for the past five years.

But a friend alerted him to the opportunity at the Golden Ball Street pub, and he grabbed it.

He said: 'Taking over before Christmas it's hard to know what the pub is like on a normal day, so I'm not going to find out until the new year.

'At the moment it's about getting the place back to how it was 10 years ago. Night-time trade in the city centre has swung in the last 10 years towards the Prince of Wales Road/Riverside area, and we want to get some of that trade back. We can maybe offer a more relaxed and colourful atmosphere to what they've got there.

'No changes are going to take place front of house but we will give staff better training, refresh their bar skills, and improve the customer and hospitality side of things.

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'You will see a new and improved Woolpack in the new year and we will be looking to attract people in their late 20s to late 30s. The aim is to get most of our trade through word of mouth.'

A former drinker at the pub in his younger days, Mr Coe will be greatly aided in his work by Maureen Redshaw, who will have worked at the pub for 30 years next April.

Mr Coe, who said he had always wanted to run a pub, added: 'I have inherited some really great staff including Maureen and Mike Gibson, deputy manager, who is my number two.'

The pub underwent a £200,000 make-over last year and was re-launched as a John Barras pub, a brand from Spirit Pub Company.

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.

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