Norwich: The Vine Thai

Simon ParkinWHERE IS IT? Hidden away and so inconspicuous that passers-by who don't head down Dove Street, off Norwich's Guildhall Hill, often don't even notice it exists, this age-old watering hole is a surprising treat if you can get in!Simon Parkin

WHERE IS IT?

Hidden away and so inconspicuous that passers-by who don't head down Dove Street, off Norwich's Guildhall Hill, often don't even notice it exists, this age-old watering hole, which actually dates back to 1842, is a surprising treat if you can get in!


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WHAT'S IT LIKE?

Having struggled and closed a few years ago, it has been rescued and reinvented as part pub, part Thai restaurant, with the upstairs converted into a dining room. The Vine revels in the distinction of being Norwich's smallest pub, and is only just squeezed out of being the region's tiniest tavern by the Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds. It's basically just a very small room downstairs - some of you will have living rooms bigger. Amazingly given the tight squeeze, it used to consist of two even smaller rooms. The interior has room for just three or four small tables and a mini-bar that can measure no more 7ft. Surprisingly given its diminutive size, even when a fair few drinkers are packed inside it never feels quite as diminutive as it is - it must be the Tardis effect!

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THE DRINKS

The standards are high with a good choice of ales and lagers always on offer, mainly Adnams, as well as guest brews, and Thai ales all are complimented by a reasonable range of prices. Back in the hey-days of Norwich Market, the Vine was one of a handful of pubs covered by a special by-law - still theoretically in force - allowing them to open first thing in the morning to serve stallholders who'd be hard at work since dawn.

THE FOOD

It's a Thai restaurant.

THE ENTERTAINMENT

There's no room are any sort of performance. However the pub is currently running a Winter Beer Festival, which ends on January 31.

THE REGULARS

A truly mixed clientele who will strike up a conversation with anyone and variety of characters you thought no

longer existed. Its busy times are mainly during the day, but when it thins out it offers a place to enjoy a quiet evening pint.

The only drawback is the obvious one - it is so small you won't always be guaranteed a seat.

t The Vine Thai, Dove Street, Norwich, 01603 627362, www.vinethai.co.uk

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