Our guide to Bri­tish pubs. This week: The Cider­shed, Nor­wich

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - The Back Page -

The Cider­shed is not a shed at all. It’s a red-brick and clap­per­board com­mu­nity pub, built in 1956, just across the road from a shop deal­ing in wal­nut-ve­neer wire­lesses of sim­i­lar vin­tage that look as though they might be per­ma­nently tuned to Han­cock’s Half-Hour or Two-Way Fam­ily Favourites.

Ad­mit­tedly, the pub sells a lot of cider. But then it also sells a lot of wine, a lot of Bel­gian lager and a hell of a lot of English draught beer. Eight hand pumps are ranged along a mag­nif­i­cent bar, which is hewn from a gi­ant red­wood. Fat Cat bit­ter, a Nor­wich spe­cial­ity, is brewed on the premises and re­mains a bar­gain at £2 a pint.

The Shed, as it is gen­er­ally known, also sells sec­ond­hand books from a stall in the hall, the do­main of a Liver­pudlian who sports a stylish trilby and goes un­der the name of Dr Zog. “Peo­ple who are dis­cern­ing enough to drink here tend to be lit­er­ate,” he says, ges­tur­ing at shelves where an Iain Banks thriller stands spine by spine with In­tro­duc­ing Or­chids.

Or­chards might be more ap­pro­pri­ate. Li­censees Ryan and Diana Burnard were Lon­don-based artists un­til they left the East End for East Anglia 15 years ago and be­gan press­ing the fruit of Nor­folk’s boun­ti­ful ap­ple trees.

The pop­u­lar Monty’s Dou­ble is named af­ter the pub’s ven­er­a­ble border col­lie. At 6.2 per cent al­co­hol, it could lead to dou­ble vi­sion if not treated with re­spect and con­sumed with some­thing solid.

Well-filled rolls are read­ily avail­able and Sun­day lunchtimes of­fer the chance to savour the prod­ucts of Gourmet Cor­ner. Cheese, olives and cooked meats are avail­able free. “We pro­vide some and cus­tomers also bring their own. It’s like a party,” says Ryan.

Jazz, blues and folk bands play on a stage at the far end of the room at a vol­ume that al­lows con­ver­sa­tion to flow like the beer, cider and wine. In this res­i­den­tial cor­ner of Nor­wich, it would seem, som­bre Sun­days in sub­ur­bia have gone the way of Two-Way Fam­ily Favourites. Chris Arnot

The Cider­shed, 98-100 Law­son Road, Nor­wich (01603 413153; www.theshed­nor­

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