New owners aim to restore Ipswich's Lord Nelson pub as thriving hub for the community
PUBLISHED: 20:30 25 August 2017
One of Ipswich's historic pubs has opened under fresh ownership as the new managers aim to restore it to its former glory.
The Lord Nelson pub in Fore Street has been run by various people over the last decade, but on July 7 experienced pub owners Tom West and Josie Merrick – who run the Red Lion in Manningtree – completed the deal to take over the pub.
The pair have a combined experience of 20 years in the pub trade, and turned the Red Lion from an ailing pub into an award-winning establishment recognised by The Observer and The Guardian among others.
They are now keen to restore the Lord Nelson as a hub for the community.
“It’s been lovely, absolutely fantastic,” said Tom, 33.
“We have got a nice consistent, relaxed atmosphere which is pretty much the secret to running a decent pub.
“The customers and staff have a good rapport – if you can bring a little bit of the community atmosphere with the quality of what you do then I think that is a good thing.”
Josie, 26, added: “It’s a traditional pub and that’s what it always needs to be.”
The pair have already made a raft of improvements such as outdoor benches, a new menu based on freshly-served meals rather than frozen, newly upholstered cushions, re-branded menus and sourcing ingredients from local suppliers.
A monthly pub quiz is set to begin in September while staff have been getting up to date with knowledge of the beers. Those dining can also get a refund on their car parking from the car park behind.
Crucially, with experience in running an already-thriving pub in Manningtree, Josie and Tom are hoping their experience can help the Lord Nelson thrive in an uncertain industry.
“There was definitely a threat this could have closed had it carried on as it was,” Tom said.
“But pubs are the original Facebook – it’s where everyone comes to hear stories, spend time with each other, hear the local news. People come to celebrate and people come to mourn – pubs are a huge part of everyday life.”