Great YarmouthTwo Julians

Great Yarmouth – Theatre Tavern


This pub isn’t listed in the Good Beer Guide, not least because it doesn’t sell real ale, but I’ve never visited it before and so Julian and I decided to have a little look inside. It takes its name from the now demolished Theatre Royal first built in 1778 which was located on the other side of the road, which was later demolished to become the Regal Theatre and ended up as a Cannon cinema before it was demolished in the 1980s. The replacement buildings are ugly affairs, it’s a shame that the town lost the attractive theatre building. The pub has had its current name since 1824, meaning it’s not far off its 200th birthday, but there appears to have been a licensed premises here before then called Cups.

There was a tragedy in 1845 when the Great Yarmouth suspension bridge collapsed and the owner of the Theatre Tavern, Mr Harmston, organised a performance at the Theatre Royal to raise money for the families of those who had been killed. Over the decades, many of the performers appearing at the theatre came into the pub, it’s got some considerable heritage.


Wrongly branded glasses as Julian went for a Corona (and the bar did offer lime) and myself a John Smith’s, both tasted fine and were reasonably priced. It was evident that this was a proper community pub, it was busy and there was a vibrant but informal atmosphere so I’m confident that visitors to the town would feel welcome.


The bar area and Julian noted that they were talking about the Sheepdog Peanut Butter whiskey, as he’s sceptical of such flavourings. Fortunately Nathan and I had tried this decadent a shot a few weeks before over the road (well, over a couple of roads) in the Troll Cart pub. I recommend it.


There’s a pool table at the back, which I thought was interesting given the limited space available in the venue. The male toilets are out in the courtyard, seemingly a big improvement when they were installed in 1932 but now increasingly rare.


The old lounge bar sign showing the entrance to what is now the pool room. The bar is open to the front of the pub and has a hatch to the rear, not much has changed in terms of the interior structure over the decades and I think that’s rather wonderful. This is a proper pub with character, not burdened with craft beer or real ale, but nonetheless it seems to be catering very well to its audience and I liked it.