Spixworth pub going from strength to strength

A pub on the outskirts of Norwich which was saved by two locals last year, is doing a booming trade – in tea and coffee – following the launch of a new scheme aimed at getting making it more accessible to the community.

The Longe Arms, in Spixworth, is reaching out to people who do not normally go to the pub and it has been getting some positive feedback since being given a new lease of life.

The pub was saved from closure last year by locals Dave Whiting and Eric Donnelly, who stepped in after owners Enterprise Inns could not find anyone interested in taking on the lease. Since they took over, the pair have embarked on a major refurbishment programme, which has seen the pub transformed inside and out.

The Crostwick Lane-based pub has been serving coffee and cakes since the end of last year and from last month moved from a noon opening to 10.30am so villagers can enjoy morning teas.

Mr Whiting said: 'Coffees have been going really well, which is great because people are becoming aware of it. We get a lot of repeat custom because we're the only place that's open from 10.30am. We're getting people from as far afield as Sprowston and Old Catton because there's nowhere for them to go any more.'

Mr Whiting said they had decided to trial the earlier opening to be able to put on morning teas, cakes and coffee, because it allowed them to serve the community in another way.

The pub is also now being used by other groups as a place to meet and socialise, such as the Women's Institute and a pensioners' dining club. He said he was delighted with the success of the scheme so far but urged people to keep on taking advantage of the earlier opening and teas and coffees so they could keep them going.

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The pub is also looking to improve the kitchen so it would be able to produce good, honest pub grub at a price people could afford.

He said: 'It will only be pub grub because we're surrounded by pub restaurants and we don't want to compete with them.

'The whole philosophy is its a community pub and we feel it has to be that.'

The initiatives being carried out at the Longe Arms fit in with the Evening News's Love Your Local campaign, which is urging people to support local pubs.

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk