Norwich: The Champion

Sarah BrealeyWHERE IS IT? It is on the fringes of the city centre on the outside of the inner ring road, poised on the corner of Chapelfield Road and St Stephen's.Sarah Brealey


It is on the fringes of the city centre on the outside of the inner ring road, poised on the corner of Chapelfield Road and St Stephen's.


Nothing fancy, just a proper traditional pub - The Champion is the kind of place you want for a pint on the way home or for a few on a winter's evening. The d�cor is traditional pub, with a fireplace and knick-knacks like old mugs and earthenware hot water bottles. If you don't mind the traffic, there are tables outside for warmer weather. The pub is named after Daniel Mendoza, a bare-knuckled boxing champion who visited Norwich in 1790. He was England's 16th heavyweight champion. The pub's boxing heritage is also reflected in the boxing photographs in one of the two interlinked rooms.

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There is a function room which can be hired for meetings, parties, wakes and so on.


It is a Bateman's pub, so expect two or three Bateman's beers from Lincolnshire, and there is always a choice of real ale from other breweries too, which might include Woodforde's Wherry and Nelson's Revenge, plus regularly changing guest beers. We tried a rarely-seen Et tu Brutus, a bitter from Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and a Mars Magic, which hails from Wold Top brewery on the Yorkshire coast near Scarborough. Cider drinkers can have the Weston's Scrumpy, which was pretty tasty. You can get the normal lagers, spirits and wines too.


Food is good value and includes meatballs with tomato sauce and wholewheat pasta, omelette and chips or smoked haddock with a poached egg. There are also snacks like burgers and pork pies.


Piped music is usually played. There is a monthly quiz, too.


The bustling atmosphere, enlivened by boisterous banter on topics of the day - from the latest football transfer news to the price of gas these days - make this pub a proper old-school city boozer. In a mix you wouldn't get in many of the newer fancy bars, workmen in their paint-splattered overalls rub shoulders with be-suited office types to enjoy a sandwich and a pint in traditional no-nonsense surroundings.

t The Champion, Chapelfield Road, Norwich, 01603 765611

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