Next in line on our little tour was the Alexandra Tavern which has been a pub since the 1860s, taking its name from Alexandra of Denmark, the wife of King Edward VII. It’s a well reviewed pub on-line and it’s also listed in the Good Beer Guide.
As a pub history side note, the Norfolk Chronicle reported on the Brewster Sessions held in August 1877 in which the Alexandra was mentioned, but I think it’s an interesting snapshot of licensing at the time.
“Mr Carlos Cooper, barrister, applied on behalf of Messrs. Steward and Patteson for the transfer of the licence of the Cock and Pye public house, St. Simon and Jude, to other premises situated in St. Philip, Heigham. Mr. Cooper said that of course it was unnecessary for him to state that he was not applying for a new licence, but was now asking for the removal of one. The late Mr. Winter’s representatives had about 16 acres of land, very well adapted for building purposes; this was now in course of being sold and built upon, and there had been about 40 or 50 houses built there up to the present, and when the whole of the land was built upon there would be about 300 or 400 dwellings, thus forming, as it were, an entirely new locality. This locality would require a public house, which would be of great convenience to the inhabitants, as there they could fetch their dinner or supper beer without going to an inconvenient distance. There was no public house at all within an easy distance of the new locality, and it would be absolutely necessary to have one.
One of the conditions of the sale of the property was that only two public houses should be erected on the estate, and at present there were none. Mr. Cooper said he was not asking the justices to increase the public houses; in this city the present number were disproportionate to its inhabitants, and he believed Norwich was an exception to an other place, for if they compared the number in this city with other towns they would find a much greater proportion in Norwich. He was now only asking the Bench to transfer a licence from one house to another in the course of erection. The learned gentleman then put in the plans of the house, which he said was well situated for the inhabitants of the future,
Mr, Mayd, barrister, opposed the application. With respect to the situation, there was a public house called the Alexandra Tavern within 110 yards of the site of the public house proposed to be erected. There was also another public house called the Stafford Arms, which would be 200 yards from the proposed house. The people would have as well the right angle house on the Dereham Road and St. Giles’s Road. The proposed house stood by itself in the fields, there was no dwelling near it, and the inhabitants were perfectly satisfied with the accommodation they received at the Stafford Arms and the Alexandra Tavern, and he submitted their duty was to deal with the present time, and whatever sort of locality there might be in the future it was not absolutely necessary to have another public house. The Mayor said the decision of the Bench would be given later on.”
As a quick pub quiz competition, I’ll let individuals guess which pub it was that being proposed (answer at the end of this post) because as a spoiler, the licence transfer was granted.
There were four real ales to choose from which were the Scoundrel from Moon Gazer, Little Sharpie from Humpty Dumpty, Ale X Best Bitter from Mr Winters and Lighthouse from Adnams. The venue had been free of tie since 1996 and that is evident from this selection of beers which have a local edge to them and which don’t involve Greene King in any shape or form.
Stealing Julian’s line, it wasn’t far off each table having their own hanging basket.
I went for the Ale X which was well-kept, at the appropriate temperature and is the pub’s house brew. I ensured that it wasn’t polluted by all the foliage and Julian S was approving of his Scoundrel beer from Moon Gazer.
Some of the local wildlife.
There’s one central bar which serves all parts of the pub, with cheese rolls available at the end of the counter. One side is the lounge bar and the other the public bar, not divided in the way that they once would have been, but they still feel distinct in terms of their character. Julian S and I feel more comfortable in what would have been the poor bit, we’re not really lounge people.
The interior of the pub which feels cosy and comfortable. I found this visit really rather positive, there was a decent choice of beers, the service was friendly and the surroundings were clean. It had several customers on a Wednesday afternoon and the atmosphere felt inviting.
And, in answer to my earlier question, the pub licence being proposed was for the Belle Vue, which ties in nicely here as that was the next pub that we were visiting.