Norwich pub closes despite team’s offer to keep it open

The team at The York Tavern in Norwich spent their last few days behind the bar encouraging customer

The team at The York Tavern in Norwich spent their last few days behind the bar encouraging customers to help drink the pub dry. Picture: Staff - Credit: Archant

The team behind a Norwich pub which has pulled its last pint have expressed their sadness that they were not able to reach an agreement with the venue's owners to keep it open until a new tenant is found.

The York Tavern, on Leicester Street in the golden triangle, closed on Friday, when the lease on the property expired.

The closure comes after the team revealed talks for a new 20-year lease with their landlords Ei Publican Partnerships (Ei) had broken down in October.

While the team were unable to agree a suitable lease with Ei, they did offer to run the pub until a new tenant could be found, meaning the popular watering-hole would stay open and maintain its place within the community.

But, Russell Evans, the operator of The York Tavern said Ei had not responded to the team's offer.

He said: 'Our existing agreement with Ei comes to an end at about now, and I think for staff, customers, the community at large it's a travesty.

'It's a real community pub, people are really sad it's closing.

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'We offered to keep the pub open on a 'tenancy at will' basis until they found a new operator. This would be good for staff, customers, the community and Ei but they have not responded to our offer.

'It seems they would rather close the pub than have us keep it open with all the associated benefits for all parties,' he said.

Jim Youngs, the pub's general manager said; 'It's such a shame, the customers are great, I think they're some of the best in the city.

'I would love to keep working here.'

Ahead of the closure the team behind the bar spent their last few days encouraging customers to visit the pub and help 'drink it dry' as remaining stock after the last day of trading would have to be thrown away.

Adding his voice to the messages on social media, Mr Youngs called on people to visit the pub and 'see it off' before it closed.

A spokesperson for Ei Publican Partnerships said: 'We can confirm that the York Tavern will close for a short period following the current publican's decision to cease trading.

'We would like to reassure the local community that we plan to reopen the pub as soon as possible with a new operator and look forward to welcoming guests for a drink.'