Today’s Norwich Pub of the Week feature spotlights the Forge in Philadelphia Lane, Mile Cross, where the locals are returning in droves

Customers, staff and landlords all agree that the Forge has forged ahead following a makeover.

Husband and wife John and Amanda Barber took over five months ago with the aim of turning it back into an old-fashioned backstreet boozer.

And judging by customers' comments on Monday lunchtime, they are on the right track.

Mr Barber said they had given it a 'complete facelift' to make it more inviting.

'We have put hanging baskets out to give it a complete facelift and freshen it up and hopefully, we will soon get new carpets,' he said.

His wife added: 'We are changing it, and we are starting to see more couples coming in and more ladies.

'We feel it's already a better environment than the one we knew when we previously lived in the area, and customers are saying that it's getting back to the sort of level it was in its heyday, about five years ago, when it was run by Trevor and Linda.

Most Read

'We are seeing more of the old crowd that used to come in and the whole feel of the pub is now turning around.'

Before taking it on, the couple managed the Bell in Brandon, near Thetford, for about five months, but before that neither had any experience of running a pub. Mr Barber was in tool hire sales and his wife worked on the check-out at Tesco in Blue Boar Lane, Sprowston.

Mr Barber added: 'I had always liked the idea of running a pub. I was then made redundant and the construction industry was going through a change, and it seemed a total change of direction for us. We said we would give it a go and we're really enjoying it.

'We were both in customer-oriented businesses before we took it on, where we dealt with customers on a regular basis, and neither of us has ever had a problem talking to people.'

The landlords may be relatively new but they have already set up crib, pool and football teams, and a golf club even calls the pub home.

The Evening News has been urging customers to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign. To see more stories from the campaign visit loveyourlocal.

Which Norwich pub do you think deserves to be our next Pub of the Week? Email David Bale at