The Vine Tavern

Norwich:

Tiny pub/restaurant in a pedestrianised street: downstairs feels like a pub with food tables, upstairs more restauranty: whatever; the food and beer is sublime, up to that at The Bartons Arms, maybe even slightly better. Nothing like as opulent, but clean, pleasant, and nice staff too. In some ways it owuld be easy to say “not a pub”, but there’s a proper bar, barstools, and it’s in the good beer guide- we were lead here by a local CAMRA guide.

The Lamb Inn

Norwich:

The most interesting thing here was the tiled/painted alley off the street leading to it: the pub itself was pleasant, but a by-the-numbers modern, slightly upmarket food pub with la-di-dah pretensions. I’m not being very fair her: it was nice enough, comfortable, the beer was fine, and the staff pleasant, it’s just this type of place bores me a little. There’s a nice courtyard for if the weather’s good, too.

The Fat Cat

Norwich:

Comfortably one of my favourite pubs ever, this is notorious enough to take a journey into Norwich (and a 3/4 mile walk out) to visit. Victorian building, very traditional pub interior, no music, cobs on the bar in cling film, and a quite incredible selection of ale and real cider: enough to make choosing difficult for the right reasons. Plus it mentions cats.

From the website:

20+ years later The Fat Cat is renowned as being one of the most successful real ale pubs in Great Britain. Winning many national awards.

A testament to how you can make a pub successful is that this previously run-down backstreet pub, 3/4 of a mile from the city centre, was packed at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon.

The Wildman

Norwich:

Surrounded by students, we’d walked back out of one pub (no ale, stupid high stools, only panini sandwiches on offer) and went in here instead. It was a bit stripped-out and satin paint, and had a typical student nightlife cocktail and snack menu, but was comfortable, the barman was friendly, and the lunchtime food and beer were great: it made a nice stop.

The Prince of Wales

Norwich:

We dropped in late morning, for soft drinks, I hasten to add. The pub was just opening, and we were the only customers, but I suspect this would be busy at night: the road was dominated by pubs, clubs, and takeaways, and the this place was following the spoons/goose model of cheap food and drink. Ale was available, and the food really was cheap, though we didn’t try it. Barman was friendly and helpful too. pat of a chain I’ve not seen before, but it seems the Cat & Fiddle belongs.

The Harbour Inn

Lowestoft:

What looks to be an old pub with a modern, slick, refurb in a style in keeping to the age; but if anything, it lost a little atmosphere: it looks really smart, but a bit fake. It’s also food-led: we visited around 2:30-3pm, to be asked if we wanted lunch the moment we entered. Beer and wine were fine, staff friendly enough, if a little chain-pub training manual.

Kings Wine Bar

Great Yarmouth:

It’s called a wine bar, but it’s a pub, clearly.

Not too bad, either. No ale, but respectable lager. Only real disadvantage being the UKIP-supporting racist idiot gobshite up the corner, who upon learning we were from near Birmingham, proffered “I’ll bet it’s spot the white man”. He proved to be a veritable mine of information, most of it wrong, and had his car keys in one hand, brandy in the other. What’s not to like?

Beside that, a nice enough bar. No food, friendly staff.

The Barking Smack

Great Yarmouth:

Smack? In Great Yarmouth? Well, you’ve got to try it.

I’m assuming this is a reference to a boat- a fishing vessel- rather than drugs, but you never know.

We’d wandered in hoping for lunch, but no food seemed evident, despite the boards outside. There was a good choice of ale though, and the only real problem was the doors being wide open on a coldish day: the place was freezing, so only one (excellent, local) beer.

The Pub on the Prom

Great Yarmouth:

After our first, disappointing visit to Liberty’s, and a failure to get on to Britannia Pier we needed a drink and a sit down, and it was pat midday, so we wandered in. Our expectations weren’t high: it looked like a sub-spoons look alike in some ways- but was actually quite pleasant, and clean inside. It’s attached to a hotel, but was definitely a pub. Our Guinness was fine, and we even managed a brief sit outside in sunshine.