Publicans behind the Belgian Monk leave after 21 years
- Credit: Archant 2020
Two friends who have run The Belgian Monk in Norwich for last 21 years have poured their final pints of cherry beer after making the tough decision to leave.
Terry Hughes, 60, and Linda Smith, 52, took on the lease of the building in Pottergate in 2000 and transformed a French brasserie into a Belgian-themed pub.
The pair wanted to create something unique in Norwich and alongside a huge range of beers, including its bestseller the Ter Dolen Kriek cherry beer, served food such as mussels and tartiflette.
After a tough 18 months due to the Covid pandemic, they have both decided it is time to retire and the leasehold has been taken on by Wursty Four Biers Ltd, run by Will Clayton and Chris Newsome.
The new leaseholders have committed to keep The Belgian Monk how it is and the current staff are all being kept on.
Mr Hughes said: "We have come back very strong [since the last lockdown ended] and got it back to where it was before the pandemic.
"Now is the right time to bow out on a high and it needs younger blood. We have worked for 21 years non-stop and we want a rest - the last 18 months made us evaluate life."
During the pandemic, the pair revamped the garden with heating and undercover seating and also started doing home beer deliveries across Norfolk.
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The decision to leave was tough for both of them, but they are now looking forward to a well-earned break.
Ms Smith said: "It has been a real blast with lots of highs and lows, some great staff and lovely suppliers.
"We are planning to do lots of travel and catching up with friends and are looking forward to relaxing."
Since posting the news of their departure on The Belgian Monk Facebook page on Monday afternoon, they have been overwhelmed by the lovely comments from customers.
Mr Hughes added: "We want to say an absolute massive thank you to our customers. When we opened we never dreamed of it being this successful and it has become an icon."