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Today's Pub of the Week is the Dog Inn in Swardeston

PUBLISHED: 13:51 12 April 2013 | UPDATED: 13:51 12 April 2013

Pub of the week, Landlord of  The Dog Inn in Swardeston Alex Walpole.  Photograph Simon Parker

Pub of the week, Landlord of The Dog Inn in Swardeston Alex Walpole. Photograph Simon Parker

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Alex Walpole, the landlord at the Dog Inn in Main Road, Swardeston, just south of Norwich, is hoping that the pub's fortunes will pick up when he opens a new diner at the site.

Times have been very tough for pubs across the country and he said that villagers needed to pay them a visit if he was to survive.

“I don’t know what the population of Swardeston is now, but no one from the village seems to come in to the pub. They seem to go to the social club,” he said.

“People don’t seem to be drinking out at village pubs any more. We need some villagers to start loving their local to help us survive. It’s a question of ‘Use us or lose us’.”

He took over the pub about 10 years ago and ran it as a traditional pub at the start.

“But it was not really happening so I turned it into more of a fish restaurant,” he said.

“At the moment we have got a good name for American food, so we are launching an American diner here at the end of the month. That will be known as Frank’s restaurant at the Dog, and it will run alongside the pub.

“The menu will consist of burgers, steaks and the drinks will include big bottles of Budweiser, etc.”

He said he was having to diversify in order to survive.

“It’s been absolutely horrendous recently, and very quiet in the pub, hence we are diversifying. The chancellor knocking 1p off the price of a pint in the budget has had no real effect.

“We are only a few miles from Norwich, but far enough to stop people coming, as you cannot drink and drive. It’s hard times in the pub trade. Some pubs have a good clientele, such as the Unthank Arms, which is in the city, but for most of us it’s tough.”

The bad weather so far this year has not helped either, he added.

“We used to be busy for Sunday lunch, but people are not coming out any more,” he added.

The pub has been revamped several times inside, and they also serve real ales.

“We just want to get across the message that we are struggling and we need villagers to help us out.”

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

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