New faces at an old favourite

Just Regional
Feb 16, 2023 3 mins read

Not content with running one of Norwich’s best known city centre pubs, Claire and Dale Brooks have taken on another licensed legend as they move into The Brickmakers.

The couple have been running The Walnut Tree Shades – another venue known for its live music – for 12-and-a-half years, and when they saw The Brickies was up for grabs, Claire said it was an opportunity too good to miss.

“It’s very exciting,” she said. “We have so much planned. It’s not my first rodeo, having had The Walnut Tree Shades for
so long, but we are taking on an iconic venue.”

Of course, music will still be the key to the pub, with live bands on the main stage and at the B2 venue, and the calendar is filling up with acts keen to play there.

But Claire said she and Dale would be bringing darts, pool and cribbage teams in from The Walnut Tree Shades, and The Brickmakers will be holding an international crib tournament on February 18.

“We have community events lined up from March, moving our darts and pools teams over and starting a ladies’ darts team.

“I’m also in the process of putting a kitchen in as we’d like to introduce food. I’d really like it to be somewhere everyone wants to come to.”

And she is excited to have a large outdoor space where she has plans for a beer festival in May as well as other events – including a new-look Brickfest in the summer.

The pub’s first major charity event will be on Easter Monday, with more to follow.

Some of the familiar faces will be staying at the pub, and when Claire and Dale leave The Walnut Tree Shades later in the year, some of the city centre staff will be coming to Sprowston with them.

“We have an all-singing, all-dancing team with so many talents,” said Claire.

At the moment the pub is open from 5pm until 10pm or 11pm – “depending on what’s going on” – on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 5pm until 1am on Fridays, from 2pm until 1am on Saturdays, and from noon until 10/11pm on Sundays.

“Once the darts and pool teams get up and running we will also be opening Mondays and Tuesdays,” she said.

Both Norfolk born and bred, Claire has also had The Boundary and the King Edward VII pubs, while Dale has been involved in the music scene.

“We’re really looking forward to meeting everyone and really getting involved in the community,” she said.

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