December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Town centre pub is open again after re-launch
Landlord Michael Knight is in it for the long haul at the County of Suffolk pub in Ipswich.
The refurbished pub, formerly known The County Hotel, is in St Helens Street.
The historic pub, opposite the County Hall former Suffolk County Council building which is now awaiting redevelopment, is open again after a major refurbishment.
The pub has had a chequered past in recent years, with changes of ownership, managers coming and going, and a few false starts.
Now Michael, originally from Little Clacton, Essex, has committed himself to the pub for the next three years.
“We are ready now in the run-up to Christmas. This is a lovely, character pub.
“I have been in the trade all my working life,” Michael told me.
“I had been running the Albion in Cromer for one year before this.
“But I saw this place and immediately fell in love with it, and signed up for three years.”
“There has a been a lot of investment by the owners in the refurbishment and it is looking great.
“It has really made a differene to it.
“We want it to be a real community pub again.”
He hosted had a re-launch night with invited guests, including the mayor of Ipswich, Hamil Clarke.
“The mayor said a lot of nice things,” he said, “And remembered drinking here in the old days.
“The hotel has a tremendous history, I am just beginning to find out about it, and want to find out more.
There had been bedrooms to let upstairs, he said, and it was said one of the rooms had been retained by somebody in order to have a grandstand seat for hangings at County Hall (where there was a court room).
“I’m told there is a tunnel under the road, and that the condemned man would be brought here for his last meal.
“There is still a cooking range, which was made in Ipswich, in the cellar.”
One letting room is also currently availabe ... so it is still a hotel.
The pub doesn’t have a live music licence, but there is a juke box, and there are spacious seating areas, some with groups of sofas.
“We want to be part of the community,” he sad, “the pub is disabled friendly with ramps and a ground floor disabled toilet.
“We have the pool room and we have teamed up with St Elizabeth Hospice and are planning a fundraising pool marathon, in November, involving players from other pubs too.
“We have also applied for our Best Bar None accreditation.
“We have introduced cooked food as well and are taking bookings for Christmas
“On the beer side we have added Theakstons guest beers and Guinness.”