Ipswich's Grand Old Duke of York pub re-opens after closure over summer
PUBLISHED: 16:10 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:10 28 September 2017
An Ipswich pub which was among a pair to have closed over the summer has been given a new lease of life thanks to an experienced pub hand.
Steve Pipe took over the lease of the Grand Old Duke of York in Woodbridge Road alongside his partner Kay, and after a busy few weeks of preparations and renovations, opened to a buzzing response on Friday.
The pub closed in July after a combination of financial pressures and family illness meant mum and daughter Debbie Blacker and Rosie Whitney had to call time on five years at the helm.
Mr Pipe, who previously ran The Mulberry Tree, found the pub available as his time at the Lord Nelson came to an end, and said it was “now or never”.
“I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else,” the 55-year-old said.
“Me, my partner and my son have all got it in our blood, and for me I love people, entertaining and keeping them happy.
“We had a fantastic opening weekend on Friday, it was amazing and we have already had some great feedback.”
The pub, which is dog and child friendly, is opening from 12pm each day, and is in the process of lining up lots of activities.
Among the entertainment on offer will be karaoke and open mic nights on alternate Thursdays, live music on Saturdays, Monday darts team, and a Sunday night pub quiz from November.
Once settled, Mr Pipe plans to introduce food back into the popular venue.
During the summer, barbecues and events in the car park are also on the cards.
“A bunch of locals have drifted back in, and they are really chuffed to see it open.
“The biggest thing for me is not to change everything – I am absolutely all ears to what people think and suggest and off the back of that I am already making a few changes.”
Mr Pipe recognised that the pub trade was “harder than ever” because of rising costs, regulations and red tape, but said the people helped combat the tough circumstances.
He added: “They are very positive, lovely people, and a good, loyal chimney pot area. It’s got that community pub feel and they are our bread and butter.”
The pub’s July closure was followed by that of the Mulberry Tree a handful of days later.
Interested bands can contact the pub on its Facebook page here.