See inside Dereham pub as it officially reopens after two years closed

Director of Old England Paul Hepworth.Stuart Clarke, manager of The George and staff as it celebrates reopening.

(LtR) Director of Olde England who runs the pub, Paul Hepworth.Stuart Clarke, manager of The George and staff as it celebrates reopening. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The new manager of a Dereham pub expects it to get better and better as it prepares to open its kitchen after being shut for two years.

Stuart Clarke is managing The George in Dereham, which reopened to punters on February 15. Exactly a month on, the town’s mayor, Stuart Green, cut the ribbon to mark its official reopening, alongside its kitchen, on March 15.

Formerly known as The George Tavern, the pub on Swaffham Road closed back in 2020 as former owners Gareth and Rebecca William decided not to renew their lease so they could spend more time with family.

The George reopens in Dereham.L-r Stuart Clarke, manager, High King, deputy mayor, Mayor Stuart Green

The George reopens in Dereham. L-r Stuart Clarke, manager, High King, deputy mayor, Mayor Stuart Green and director of Olde England who run the pub, Paul Hepworth. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Mr Clarke, 39, is managing the pub on behalf of The Olde England and has formerly run a pub in Northamptonshire. He said there are big plans for The George.

“It has been good since reopening, trade has been getting busier as we have been going, people checking us out and the stock of real ale we have, so it has been picking up,” he said.

“We are expecting to get better and better, plans are in place for live music and we are part of the Dereham Blues Festival.

The George reopens in Dereham.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

The George reopens in Dereham. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"We are looking to expand the rear of the property, look to redesign it in the next year as well, to include a stage so we can move forward with having our own festival.

“We are aiming to get people here all week long to enjoy the great food. There is not a lot of places in Dereham to get something to eat at a welcoming family-oriented place, so that is what we are aiming to be.”

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The kitchen will start with a grill and bar snacks menu, with an a la carte menu to follow in the next few weeks.

The George reopens in Dereham.Byline: Sonya Duncan

The George reopens in Dereham.

The mayor said he was delighted to see pubs reopening following the difficulties they faced during the pandemic:

“It is a great thing to see reopening, it's in a prominent position and it had a very good reputation," he said.

“It is great to see something like this reopening in the town. It's what we all want to see, and hopefully, people use it and it can remain open and successful.

“It is great. Pubs were shut the longest and had the biggest restrictions, so it is great to see them reopening and getting back to business as usual as best they can.”

The pub will also reopen its hotel rooms in the coming weeks.

The George reopens in Dereham.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

The George reopens in Dereham. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The George reopens in Dereham.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

The George reopens in Dereham. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The George reopens in Dereham.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

The George reopens in Dereham. - Credit: Sonya Duncan