'I haven't stopped smiling' - City pub reopens to happy customers

Aey Allen, owner of The Vine on Dove Street in Norwich which is re-opening after her outside licence

Aey Allen, owner of The Vine on Dove Street in Norwich which is re-opening after her outside licence has been approved. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Diners and drinkers are celebrating the reopening of a tiny pub after it was was delayed due to licensing concerns.

Aey Allen hoped to open The Vine Thai on Dove Street, Norwich, to outdoor customers from April 12 and applied to the city council for permission to put out extra tables as it only had two.

But the reopening was postponed after Norfolk Constabulary's traffic management officer raised fears over whether there was enough space for emergency vehicles to pass.

However, she and her staff could once again serve appreciative and happy customers from Tuesday after the traffic management officer visited the site and deemed there was enough space for the tables.

Io Stavrinou, Aey Allen (owner), and Max Allen at The Vine on Dove Street in Norwich which has re-op

Io Stavrinou, Aey Allen (owner), and Max Allen at The Vine on Dove Street in Norwich which has re-opened now it's outside licence has been approved. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mrs Allen, 50, from Norwich, who has run the business for 13 years, said: "It has been a bit of a journey. The extra tables outside have made the street so lively. I'm so excited about being open again. I have not stopped smiling."

She received a lot of support from customers after she initially could not reopen on April 12 and as soon as she knew she could trade again she had a lot of people contacting her to book tables.

The pub owner said customers arrived at 11am on Tuesday as soon as she opened and had a steady stream of customers during the day.

She added customers were positive about returning.

Aey Allen, owner of The Vine on Dove Street in Norwich which is re-opening after her outside licence

Aey Allen, owner of The Vine on Dove Street in Norwich which is re-opening after her outside licence has been approved. - Credit: Danielle Booden

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Mrs Allen said: "Businesses need people to come to the city, go shopping and have some food and drink."

She hopes to put in an awning for the pub, which also takes walk-in customers.

John McLoughlin, from Norwich, enjoying a drink outside the Vine Thai pub on Dove Street, Norwich, in April 2021.

John McLoughlin, from Norwich, enjoying a drink outside the Vine Thai pub on Dove Street, Norwich, in April 2021. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Regular John McLoughlin, 67, from Oak Street in Norwich, said: "It is great to come here. It is a step back to normality. The reopening of businesses is brilliant. It is uplifting."

Friends Corrina Theobald and Julie Thetford enjoying a catch-up outside The Vine Thai in Norwich in April 2021.

Friends Corrina Theobald and Julie Thetford enjoying a catch-up outside The Vine Thai in Norwich. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Julie Thetford, from Thorpe St Andrew, was enjoying a belated birthday drink with her friend Corrina Theobald, from Norwich.

Ms Thetford said: "The city is busier than I thought it would be but I feel OK about coming in because people are being respectful and social distancing. I have been enjoying a gazebo in the garden with friends."

Husband Lara and Stefan White with their two-year-old son Leo outside the Vine Thai pub in Norwich in April 2021.

Husband and wife, and business owners, Lara and Stefan White with their two-year-old son Leo outside the Vine Thai pub in Norwich in April 2021. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Lara White, who runs Align Chiropractic in Taverham with her husband Stefan, said: "All the shops seem well organised. We are not planning on going berserk."

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