Two year celebrations at the Steamboat with Purple Rain

The Steamboat Tavern, Ipswich
Landlords Rob Young and Andrew Barlow behind the bar

The Steamboat Tavern, Ipswich Landlords Rob Young and Andrew Barlow behind the bar - Credit: Archant

Two year celebration for the team at Ipswich Waterfront pub

The past two years have raced by for Rob Young and Andrew Barlow, landlords of The Steamboat Tavern - on the Stoke side of Ipswich Waterfront.

While the north side of Ipswich Waterfront has had a lot of re-development, the historic Steamboat has looked on.

Now things are happening “over Stoke” on that side of the River Orwell.

It was here, at the New Cut of the River Orwell, that steamboats brought passengers to the town in bygone years.

You can still moor boats and yachts here.

Joint landlords Rob and Andrew have re-invented the pub in the past two years, since taking it over from long term landlady Val Bint.

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“I don’t know where the past two years have gone,” said Andrew, “We are in it for the long term.

“Myself and Rob have taken over the day-to-day running of it.

“We want to be here for 20 to 30 years. We see it as a great opportunity to develop the business, along with the area.

“Tnere has been a lot of development the other side (of the Waterfront), but more to happen here and on the island in years to come.

“People like to be alongside water, and it is still a bit industrial over here. It is part of its charm.

“They sit outside on a sunny afternoon.

“When the weather is nice, you could be anywhere in Europe.

“The Wet Dock crossing plan would be good for the area too. There is such a lot of potential here.”

The family team has developed the “real ale” side of the pub and contined with live music, something which Val had championed here previously.

Among the famous `old boys’ who played early gigs at the Steamboat was Ed Sheeran of course, who now sells out football stadia.

They have monthly vinyl nights, two jazz events a month, and various live bands on Saturdays and sometimes Fridays too.

Rob said: “We are having live music but not every night.”

Andrew added: “We are always looking for new bands to feature here.

“We want to be part of a vibrant music scene.

“It makes a difference when a band has a public following.

“We are trying to be more selective. We want to have different music, and we want bands different from other venues.

“We have also concentrated on being a real ale and cider house.

“From two ales we now have five to six ales at a time, and four five ciders, and they all go quickly.

“We both have a lot of experience with draught beer, and we have our Cask Marque. Rob used to work at the Dove and I worked in London pubs.”

Last weekend it was turning back the clock to the punk era, with The Stupids, who rarely perform these days, on stage at the Steamboat.

“It was a great weekend.

“On Sunday night we had our vinyl session, then support band Gaffa Tape Sandy (from Bury St Edmunds), poetry from Rowan James and music from The Stupids.

“There was a great turn-out and a really busy weekend.”

The two year celebrations continue on Sunday May 29 with DJ Kev Sullivan, and Prince tribute act Jimi Love with Purple Rain.

“It is a sell-out show,” explained Rob. “The last 30 tickets went on the morning after Prince sadly died.”

They are planning to re-roof the outbuilding in time for the Bank Holiday Weekend, added Andrew.

The plan was to re-introduce an outside stage, with a separate bar/pizza oven, for hosting more live events.

Longer term there were plans for a kitchen extension, to develop the food offer as well, he added.