This whole drinking outside only thing does rather reduce the quality of the photographs (it is a bit easier to take photos inside where there’s actually some light), but this is The York pub on Leicester Street in Norwich. I’m not sure why the owners have lost the Tavern bit from the name, but this was until recently known as the York Tavern. Customers enter via the front door (that sounds obvious, but often at the moment customers can get into pubs through some random side gates) and the process was all well managed for us. We had to provide details for the NHS app and then separately to the pub, which was slightly convoluted, but best for the pub to be careful.
This is the pub’s sizeable beer garden, which used to be a bowling green. I wouldn’t have noticed that if I hadn’t been told, although the defined shape is a slight giveaway. An article in the Norfolk Chronicle in 1902 mentioned that the bowling club had been open for 27 years and that it was one of the oldest in the city. Today, there’s a large marquee on part of the lawn and then some picnic benches dotted about. And all credit to the pub owners over the years for not trying to sell this land off for housing, as it’d be possible to cram a new house in there.
The clues to it being a former bowling green are though more evident with the structures at the side (I mean the club house thing, not Nathan). Norfolk Pubs notes that the pub opened in 1878 (which suggests that the bowling club was already there if the dates in the Norfolk Chronicle are to believed) and also that the landlord Albert Plane had been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in 1922 having gone to get his family all a cup of tea, which isn’t an ideal situation. This was the same landlord who refused to admit the police into his pub in 1916, a rather brave thing to do. The reasons for the police visit aren’t known to me, but Plane was involved in black market activities, so perhaps it was in relation to that.
There wasn’t a particularly exciting range of real ales or craft beers, but there was Gamma Ray from Beavertown which was satisfactory. I wouldn’t go further than satisfactory, but it’s a reliable pale ale. I’m still vaguely on the lookout for Spresso, which is Beavertown’s imperial stout, although they might not even make it any more. The ordering is done on-line, and Nathan managed this without too many issues on his Nokia 3310 (or whatever it is that he has).
Anyway, the pub’s garden is spacious and so the tables were suitably far apart from each other, and there was a one-way system in place inside to get to the toilets. That went via the pub’s internal stairs, which wasn’t entirely ideal now that I knew a previous landlord had died there. Although we arrived too late for it, the pub is doing food and the reviews for that seem positive and their chicken wings sound quite delicious.