One of the city’s most popular real ale pubs changes hands

Handover over the reins at the King's Head pub in Norwich. Photo by Mike Baldwin of CAMRA. Left to

Handover over the reins at the King's Head pub in Norwich. Photo by Mike Baldwin of CAMRA. Left to Right: Stephen George, Jon Smith, Lesley George, Roland Coomber. - Credit: Archant

One of Norwich's most popular real ale pubs has changed hands, but regulars need not worry, as the new owners plan to keep it pretty much the same.

Stephen George and wife Lesley have bought the King's Head in Magdalen Street from previous landlords and owners Jon Smith and Roland Coomber, who had been there for eight years.

Although Mr and Mrs George are half of the Humpty Dumpty Brewery partnership based at Reedham, he said they were looking to continue to run the King's Head pretty much as it is now, rather than turn it into a Humpty house, as it were.

He said: 'Jon and Roland had a vision and made the King's Head into a real ale drinker's haven. We're hoping to 'stand on the shoulders of giants' and carry on the real ale focus of the pub.

'There will be a few tweaks and changes as we look to put our personal touch into the place, but it's still going to be a cask-only house (no draught keg beers), and it's still going to feature primarily East Anglian microbreweries – we are spoiled for choice – though we might have one tap (of 14) featuring out-of-region ales.'

Mr Coomber and Mr Smith ran the Nelson pub in Nelson Street, Norwich, before taking on the King's Head, and Mr Coomber said it was time to move on. He said: 'We had been in the pub trade about 11 years. It's a successful pub and we have left it in safe hands.'

Both worked in the offshore industry before becoming publicans, and Mr Coomber said they would return to that line of work.

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The King's Head, which dates back to the 18th century, won the Camra Norwich and Norfolk Pub of the Year competition in 2008.

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