Waterfront: Val Bint calls time at the Steamboat Tavern in Ipswich and hands over to a new family
14:00 06 June 2014
Landlady Val Bint has called time at the Steamboat Tavern for the last time.
Val has sold up and the new owners have been busy decorating this week for its re-launch.
It was all hands to the paintbrushes at The Steamboat Tavern at Ipswich Waterfront this week.
The new owners, and their family, closed the pub after jazz music on Sunday and then stripped out the furniture to decorate and give it a fresh new look for a new era.
Brothers-in-law Andy Barlow and Rob Young, both very experienced in the pub trade locally, will be the faces mainly seen behind the bar at the Steamboat though they will also have the active support of their wives Susie and Agata.
All four, and Rob and Susie’s parents Bob and Bev, rolled up sleeves to get decorating this week ready for the re-launch night.
It really is a new era at the Watefront, where Val Bint, formerly Val Taylor, has been a mainstay of the pub trade and a champion of live music in the town for many years.
Landlady Val Bint has sold up to concentrate on her catering business after a decade at the pub.
“I have been trying to run two businesses, which is very difficult,” she explained.
Val has been running pubs in Ipswich for more than 25 years and also has her own catering business, Taylor Made.
“I have been here at the Steamboat ten years this time, and I first came here in 1999.
“It is what I love but it is a hard trade to be in.
“I run everything, from changing the light bulbs to doing the wages.
“I don’t get the chance to do what I like most, pulling pints and enjoying meeting people.
“It is time for a change for me. I have only had one day off in three years.”
She had always been a champion of live music and recently Ed Sheeran, now a top international star, returned to play a back-to-his-roots gig at the Waterfront pub, almost secret to preven security issues.
It was something of a tribute for Val who has always given young musical talent the chance to perform at the pubs she has run in Ipswich.
She said: “He is still the same, unspoilt lad even though he is a superstar now who plays Madison Square Gardens and the O2 Arena.
“I cried when he won his Brit Award and Album of the Year.
“He does work incredibly hard.
“The young people playing here the other night, from the college, stood where he stood, He is proof you can succeed with hard work in the music business.”
The Steamboat under Val has been known for its live music, pub food and warm atmosphere.
“It is a real community pub, within the music community, for a wide area of Ipswich and beyond,” she said.
The new owners have the same ideals.
Andy Barlow who has worked in and managed pubs for 16 years, said: “This is a freehouse so we will be using local micro-breweries for beer.
“We will be providing traditional pub food and using local suppliers for sausages and pies, and fruit and veg.
“It is all-go now and it is really exciting.”
Susie added: “It is a great challenge. It is lovely to be down here by the river and to be known as a Waterfront pub.
Rob, who previously worked at The Dove and McGintys in town, said: “We want to keep it a traditional pub.
“It is known for its live music and we want to keep that. When I was working at McGintys it was a time when there was a lot of live music.
“We know a lot of people in the trade in the town.
“Eventually we want to have our own micro-brewery as well.”
Their plan is to fully re-decorate the pub, first inside, and then the exterior and then re-design the garden space.
“It is an absolute sun-trap out here,” added Andy.
“We think the garden has great potential.
“We are going to have new signs, `Real Ale, Music and Food’ and that is what we are going to be about.”