First pints pulled at Dereham’s rejuvenated Romany Rye pub

The first pints have been pulled at a prominent Dereham pub and hotel which has reopened after a �2m renovation, creating 75 local jobs.

The new-look Romany Rye was opened for business on Tuesday by national pub chain JD Wetherspoon at the site of the former Phoenix Hotel on Church Street.

The building has been named after a novel written by author George Borrow, who was born in Dereham in 1803, with the literary theme continued on photos and information boards decorating the new-look bar.

The pub will specialise in real ales – including beers from local and regional brewers – and features a large dining area and beer garden at the back of the building.

Wetherspoon has also reopened 22 en-suite hotel rooms and created a function room and conference facilities on the ground floor.

Town mayor Robert Hambidge cut the ribbon to formally open the venue.

'The renovation is of a much higher standard than I think Dereham expected – it is really lovely,' he said.

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'It has created jobs and saved a building which was falling into disrepair.

'It is good for Dereham, as it brings life into the town and will pull in a lot more people.

'This can only improve and complement what Dereham already has. We are always being promised new homes, but what we really need is to make the town an attractive place for companies to relocate, and this can only help.'

The opening day celebrations continued with a Hollywood-themed fancy dress event in the evening.

Manager Ian James said: 'I am very excited and extremely proud to see the pub open.

'We've got a fantastic team here and they've just completed 10 days of intense training.

'I can honestly say that 95pc of the jobs here have gone to local people in the town, which is great news. It is fantastic for the town and I think we have a great opportunity here.'

The Romany Rye will be open from 7am until midnight on Sunday to Thursday and from 7am until 1am on Friday and Saturday.