Arbor House pub in Ipswich nominated for two Casual Dining Restaurant and Pub Awards
An Ipswich pub owner nominated for two prestigious national awards has said he is “humbled” by the recognition.
The Arbor House pub, in High Street, has been shortlisted for two categories at the annual Casual Dining Restaurant and Pub Awards 2017 – Independent Casual Dining Pub of the Year and Best Designed Casual Dining Pub or Bar.
Ryan Carter, 33, reopened the former Arboretum pub last August with his partner Georgina Logan.
Mr Carter, of Ipswich, a former Holywells High School (now Ipswich Academy) pupil, said: “I was surprised and proud at the same time when I found out.
“You never know how it is going to be received, so to get this level of recognition this early on is humbling really.
“Just being nominated is an award in itself.”
Mr Carter has co-owned The Red Lion pub in Woodbridge with school friend Daniel Davey for the past two-and-a-half years, after spending six years until the age of 24 working behind bars and in promotions for a number of bars and clubs in Ipswich and Cyprus.
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He believes those experiences have helped him create a potentially award-winning pub in his first venture as a solo pub owner, and reflected on the challenges facing the embattled pub trade.
He said: “The Red Lion has proven to be a success. It was not a great pub, so to speak (before they took over), but it has been improved tremendously and given me the confidence to go it alone.
“It gave me the opportunity to own the Arbor House and it’s been a bit of a whirlwhind.
“It is terrifying (national news of pubs closing) but you have to believe in what you are doing.
“People want experiences these days, and we don’t drift towards those heavily-discounted brands you can get in supermarkets. At both sites we serve fresh food.
“You have to challenge the boundaries. Successful pubs work incredibly hard broadening their offer, away from the traditional sense of an old boozer.
“You have to make people feel comfortable. It is a fast-paced world. It is all phones. We create an environment which forces people to engage in conversation and socialise. People sit very close to each other. It is somewhere which isn’t fast-paced.”
The awards ceremony takes place in London on February 22.