'Swanky off licence' on Norwich market to take over acclaimed pub

The boys couldn't be more excited to get The Stanford Arms up and running after three successful years on Norwich Market

The boys couldn't be more excited to get The Stanford Arms up and running after three successful years on Norwich Market - Credit: Sir Toby's Beers

A "swanky off licence" on Norwich market has added a "beautifully maintained" coastal pub to its portfolio - and can't wait to welcome its first customers next Friday.

Toby Westgarth and Dominic Burke, co-owners of Sir Toby's Beers, announced on Thursday they had taken over The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft after the previous landlord decided not to renew his lease.

For three years, the duo have run a takeaway beer stall, or what Mr Westgarth terms a "swanky off-licence", on Norwich market selling independent and local craft beers and ales. But it was their dream to offer people a "sit down pint".  

Mr Westgarth said they'd bought the pub on Stanford Street in Lowestoft, which in 2017 was named East Anglian pub of the year by CAMRA, at a virtual auction in what felt like a "crazy eBay bid", finally picking up the keys yesterday after sitting on the secret for six weeks.

"We didn't want to say a word to anyone until we had the keys in our hand", he said. "But it's an absolutely beautifully-maintained pub. We really can't wait to get it up and running."

Dominic Burke picking up the keys to the pub on Thursday

Dominic Burke picking up the keys to the pub on Thursday - Credit: Dominic Burke

The team, which includes the now full-time staff member Joseph Marks acting as The Stanford Arms cellar manager, said they wanted to reassure customers the city stall wouldn't be going anywhere - and their Lowestoft customers that they weren't "just a bunch of Norwich yuppies swanning in on the train".

"We'll definitely have all our whacky craft beers and local ales on offer, but we'll also have some traditional real ales and lagers as well", Mr Westgarth said.

Toby Westgarth and Dominic Burke

Toby (left) and Dominic have run Sir Toby's Beers for 3 years on Norwich market, but it was always their dream to own their own pub - Credit: Sir Toby's Beers

The pub is opening on Friday, May 7 from 1pm-11pm, for which no bookings are needed. There will also be a barbeque.

However, the team is keen to meet as many locals as possible, and wants punters to come down the day before between 4-10pm to say hello.

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Mr Westgarth added that the pub would be holding a rewards-based crowd-funder for a new garden set with six new keg lines and a chiller to "spice the place up".

Joseph Marks is now full-time cellar manager for The Stanford Arms, having worked on the stall part-time at Norwich market

Joseph Marks, now full-time cellar manager for The Stanford Arms, pouring the first drop of beer at their new pub - Credit: Sir Toby's Beers

Anyone who donates £1 will get £1.50 towards a bar tab with your name on it to be used at The Stanford Arms.

Visit: crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-tobys-beers to take part.

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