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Popular Norwich pub set to reopen after refurbishment

PUBLISHED: 11:19 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 11:19 08 October 2014

Bob Utting with his partner Hannah Colby at The Leopard pub which is re opening after major refurbishment.

Picture: James Bass

Bob Utting with his partner Hannah Colby at The Leopard pub which is re opening after major refurbishment. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2014

They say that a leopard never changes its spots, but one popular Norwich pub named after the cat is reopening under new ownership and after a major refit.

Bob Utting with his partner Hannah Colby at The Leopard pub which is re opening after major refurbishment.

Picture: James BassBob Utting with his partner Hannah Colby at The Leopard pub which is re opening after major refurbishment. Picture: James Bass

The Leopard in Bull Close Road has been closed for refurbishment but new landlord Bob Utting hopes to reopen it by the end of this month.

The former Bateman’s Brewery-owned pub has been bought by Peter Colby, who is the father of Mr Utting’s girlfriend, Hannah Colby, and the business will be run by Mr Utting.

He said: “We have been refurbishing the place for just over a year, and we have also done the living accommodation upstairs.

“I don’t know exactly how much we have spent on it but it’s a big investment, and it has involved knocking down walls and ripping out the floor downstairs.”

Mr Utting’s background is in the trucking industry, but he said running a pub was something he had always wanted to do.

“And given the opportunity to do it, I am going to grasp it with both hands,” he added.

His girlfriend is cafe bar manager at the East Anglia Tennis and Squash club in Lime Tree Road, Norwich, and he said she would be staying there to start off with.

He added: “We will see how we go; we are both now living at the Leopard. We’re hoping the pub will reopen this month, although we are still waiting for a couple of things. We’re definitely keeping the same name. The pub dates back to 1842, and, as far as I’m aware, it’s always been called the Leopard, so I don’t want to change it.”

The pub will serve snacks including sausage rolls and Mr Utting is in talks with a sandwich company.

As he’s a real ale fan, real ales will be at the forefront of its drinks offer, and Mr Utting is hoping the pub will achieve at least some of the success of the Fat Cat pub franchise in Norwich, which he has taken as a role model.

“I would be more than happy if we had just a little of the Fat Cat’s success.

“We are all quite excited and looking forward to getting the show on the road. CAMRA has been fantastic to us, and given us some glasses from an old beer festival.”

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love Your Local campaign. To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

Have you got a story about a pub reopening? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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