The Caston Blog
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What's happening with the Red Lion
by Rob - 17:35 on 07 September 2012
Many people have stopped me in the village to vent their opinions of the direction the Red Lion is going. Many of you already know how I feel about it. I would like to make it clear that this is my own personal opinion but would like to read other people's views.
I think the heart and soul is being ripped out of our village pub. When it first reopened it was great to go there meet up with friends, have a good drink and a good laugh, I met people and became friends with villagers whom I had never met before. My opinion is at the moment it would be much better situated in Norwich city centre rather than our pretty little village. What do you think? Please have your say and be honest.
The price of food and drink have increased. The quality of the food is superb and I have recommended the establishment to numerous contacts, who have all come back with the same response " Good Quality" in small portions and not value for money.
What must be considered is the Government's Tax that are levied prior to a profit being obtained for a small local pub.
On being re-opened the Red Lion entertained villagers who had never met before and started to thrive it was a pub with a restaurant.
It has now become a restaurant with a bar with little committment to the local community who all wanted a village pub !
A "local" needs community support so let's help the proprietor by letting him know our views....Special Deals..Theme nights etc
Without our support the survival of the Red Lion could again be compromised.
As in any good dining establishment, diners are always given many opportunities to tell us if everything was okay with their meals/experience, this is the point where they can speak up for themselves! As I am there for many shifts I can honestly tell you that I have never been told that there was not enough food and it wasn't good value for money. Like the old saying goes "If you like what we do, tell others if you don't, TELL US" There is nothing like feedback for a business to continue and grow.
One thing to remember is that the pub is still open and it will remain so for the foreseeable future so we look forward to welcoming you as always any time soon.
I don't go to the pub all the time - maybe a couple of times a month, but haven't noticed any change in atmosphere since the pub first reopened at the end of last year - it still seems just as friendly and welcoming. I think it's a really nice pub and the prices are reasonable and comparable to other good pubs. I suppose some "special deal" nights like Tony suggested might be a good idea both for villagers and the pub to get bums on seats on weeknights when it is quieter. E.g. Curry and a drink for £X on Wednesdays or whatever, if that works for the pub and is profitable. If I knew there was a regular special deal on a certain weeknight I might be tempted to go slightly more often and I'm sure others would too. Has anyone talked to the people running the pub to suggest this? Probably more likely to have an impact if several people talk to them directly about these kind of ideas (rather than messages here which they might not see), I'll try and remember to suggest it next time we go.
One thing I would say in relation to Rob's first message about meeting other villagers in the pub - we don't know that many people in the village apart from our immediate neighbours (we've lived here 3 years but we work full time, get home late, and are often away at weekends so miss most of the community activities, as much as we'd like to join in), but I've never made friends with villagers I'd not met before from visiting the Red Lion. When we've been there we've often spent quite a bit of time in the bar trying to be friendly and say hello to people, hoping to get to know other people from the village. But everyone seems to stick to talking to their own group, except for maybe a "hello", and it's always been like this under both sets of management. I don't think this is anything to do with how the pub is run though, the staff are lovely and extremely friendly and we always chat to them. It's just difficult to get to know other villagers who haven't met you before from a trip to the pub (unless you have a mutual friend who can introduce you), and people in the pub are usually (understandably) wanting to talk to the people they already know. I'm not sure what answer is to this one - maybe some kind of regular activity like a quiz or club of some kind that meets in the pub once a month would help people get to know each other more?
Hope to see some of you in the pub soon - do say hello! :-)
Lucy (and Ian) Yates, Dukes Lane.
(NB. The above comment has been edited as it came from an anonymous contributor and certain parts were considered to be inappropriate and possibly libellous. Ed.)
First, David did not prevent the pub from closure. Claire and staff were doing a grand job plus there were other parties interested in running a VILLAGE PUB.
Second, what works in Buckenham does not mean it will work in Caston.
Third, if food pays the bills BUY A RESTAURANT not a pub. The Red Lion could cater for both if it was to stay open. Last night I walked past at 10.10 pm and the place was in darkness.
As for engaging the brain a lot of villagers have done just that. They bypass the Lion and go up the Waggon which do good food and beer at a sensible price. Oh, and there are plenty of people in there which creates a good atmosphere.
As was I, look at how excited everyone was to have our VILLAGE PUB re-opening. Good wholesome reasonably priced food, with a couple of slightly more expensive selections on the menu for that special occasion, a good selection of real ales, lager, wine and more at a competitive price. Maybe the odd quiz night here & there a theme night every so often and a landlord & lady that knows your name, your drink and welcomes you with a smile. Well that's my idea of a local village pub anyway and that's what we got for the first 6 months of the re-opening, although the landlord was short lived!
In a town it's fine to be known as a drinking pub, a family pub or a fine wines and foods establishment, you have a choice. A good VILLAGE pub should be all of these. You only have to look at the Waggon & Horses in Griston they lead the way in running a VILLAGE pub.
I am afraid that David is going totally against the grain for village pubs. In my own opinion drinkers are not welcome, it is no longer some where to pop in for a quick pint or bite to eat, it is a once in a while place to go with good food although overpriced and limited choice, along with overpriced drinks. I was in the bar on a Sunday afternoon when if I hadn't spoken up, a couple with a child of around 9 or 10 yrs would have been turned away, so not family orientated. What happened to working with CAMRA and pub is the hub, that's all gone down the drain. Countless times I have come home from work in the evening around 9:30 to 10 and the pub has been in darkness.
It is so annoying that in order to meet up with other Castonites I have to bypass the frequently deserted Red Lion & go into Griston. However, no matter how little or much you spend at the Waggon you are always made welcome!
Why can't people get it into their heads that rural "villagers only and drinking only" pubs are simply not viable anymore. Before Phillip and Victoria came in, anyone not born and bred in Caston was distinctly unwelcome at the Red Lion - and you wonder why it was boarded up and rotting for 5 years!
Such a loss to the area.
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