Today’s Pub of the Week is the Horsford Brickmakers

The Brickmakers in Horsford. Landlord and landlady Mark and Nai Hawkes with their son Jack.PHOTO BY

The Brickmakers in Horsford. Landlord and landlady Mark and Nai Hawkes with their son Jack.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

After getting great service in Thailand, where they ran pubs for the ex-pat community, Mark Hawkes and wife Nai were shocked when they returned to the UK and were lucky to get even a 'grunt' from bar staff.

The current leaseholders at the Horsford Brickmakers ran pubs in Bangkok before deciding to move back to England for the education of their son, Jack – who is five next month.

They took over as leaseholders at the newly-renamed Brickmakers and Country Boy Restaurant in Horsford in October last year.

Originally from Slough, Mr Hawkes moved with his family to Norfolk when he was six and trained to be a chef at City College Norwich.

He's the chef at the Brickmakers and his wife is more front-of-house, but she helps out with the Thai food they serve.

'She's got the lovely smile, which works well,' he said.

He worked as a chef across Europe, in Denmark, Switzerland, and Hungary, before moving to Asia. 'Thailand is brilliant. It's a really nice place to work. We ran pubs for the ex-pats over there. I really enjoyed Bangkok.'

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Since returning to the UK, they have received a really good reception in Horsford. 'It's been very positive from the locals, both for wet sales and food. We enjoy the banter with the locals.

'We concentrate on food and the service side of things. The service you get in Thailand is great. But when we came back to England, we had a look at a few pubs, and you were lucky if you got a grunt from the staff.

'Nai's big smile behind the bar makes a big difference. You have got to give a lot to be a success at pubs these days.'

There are two pubs in Horsford, and while they are both in Holt Road, they are at either end and more than half a mile apart, so customers tend to favour one over the other.

The Dog Inn is at 65 Holt Road, and the Horsford Brickmakers is at number 218.

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

Has your local featured as our Pub of the Week? If not, get in touch. Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email