Norwich Pub of the Week is the Fat Cat and Canary in Thorpe Road, which has become a mecca for real ale lovers in the city

Real ale lovers have been making a beeline to the Fat Cat and Canary in Thorpe Road since it opened in May.

It's the third pub in the city with the words 'Fat Cat' in its name, following the original Fat Cat in West End Street and the Fat Cat Brewery Tap in Lawson Road.

Colin Keatley, who owns the Fat Cat pubs, has entrusted Christian Hodgkinson with the running of the new Thorpe Road pub. For the last two years he has been restaurant manager at Roger Hickman's in Upper St Giles Street, Norwich, and, before that, for about eight years, he was restaurant manager at the Walpole Arms in Itteringham, near Aylsham.

The Fat Cat and Canary, previously the Mustard Pot, has been redecorated with the Fat Cat colour scheme and has the same pork pies and sandwiches to buy on the bar as the other two pubs.

Regulars said that while the Mustard Pot was famed for its 'sticky carpet', the new incarnation was a totally different beast.

Mr Hodgkinson said: 'I always wanted to run my own pub. I already knew Colin and when I moved nearer to the Fat Cat a few years ago, I said I would one day like to run my own pub, and later he offered this to me. I'm very grateful to him as I think I'm the only person who is not a member of his family to run one of his pubs.

'I can choose my own beers here and if customers tell me they like dark beers, then that's what I'll get.'

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He has also set up a weekly quiz night to raise money for charities on Wednesdays and a poker night on Thursdays.

In the next few weeks he hopes to open a separate bar at the pub for Canaries' fans on match days, which will be called the Canary room. He's trying to get some City memorabilia to decorate the room.

'I have also introduced other little bits and pieces, and made it easier to get to the bar. The outside area has also been tidied up with new plants, and the toilets have been moved,' he added.

Mr Keatley opened the original Fat Cat, to the west of the city, more than 20 years ago and he also owns the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, in Lawson Road, north city. Both are renowned for their vast selection of real ales.

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