Published: 13/04/2021You may already be familiar with Darbys, the well-loved village pub in Swanton Morley, which is set to re-open under new management from May this year.
Originally two 18th century cottages, Darbys originally opened as a pub in 1988. The pub has built up a loyal following of customers from the village and surrounding areas and this affection is something that new owners Steve Garner and Jane Howard, owners of The Cock in Dereham, have seen since taking over.
At Sowerbys, supporting local businesses and new ventures is very important to us so we thought it would be good to chat to Steve and Jane about their plans for re-opening Darbys after lockdown and what the future looks like for the popular venue.
Please introduce yourselves!
We are Steve Garner and Jane Howard, we own The Cock pub in Dereham – we will be running Darbys hands-on along with Steve’s son Elliott Garner and a new team.
What are your plans for Darby’s?
During lockdown we put a survey online to find out what locals wanted from Darbys – within a week over 200 people filled in our questionnaire (amazing!) which provided very valuable feedback – so our plans for Darbys largely reflect that feedback. Key points were friendly staff, good, fresh and traditional pub food (locally sourced), cleanliness, good beer and a dog and family friendly venue. Comments also included better WiFi (which is now extended throughout the building and garden) and to replace the church pew seating in the bar which was uncomfortable (this has been done already to almost audible cheers from the locals!).
When are you planning on re-opening?
When customers can be inside, which is after 17th May – so we have Thursday 20th pencilled in at the moment.
Are you a family and pet friendly pub?
Definitely! Dogs will be allowed in the bar and garden where there is also plenty of seating in both areas.
What pub grub will you be offering?
We’re working with our new Chef on the menu as we speak, but the emphasis will be on quality food prepared fresh on site using locally sourced ingredients where possible. A children’s menu will also be available. In the garden there is a patio/BBQ area that we also hope to make use of on the summer weekends. In all dishes we plan on delivering excellent value.
Will you be hosting any regular events?
Yes very much so. We’re focused right now on opening the pub with great food and drinks, but we’ll be putting an event schedule together soon.
What sets you apart from the competition?
It’s truly incredible how much affection Darbys has in Swanton Morley and surrounding Villages, and with our 10 year lease we can really put some stability back into this pub that the locals have been craving. Our work at The Cock in Dereham has delivered a traditional pub, ‘like proper pubs used to be’ is a comment we’ve heard literally hundreds of times and Darbys will follow that traditional approach providing a great place to meet, eat and drink. We’re also blessed with a massive car park, a big play area, including a zip wire, and generous outside seating to relax in the lovely Norfolk countryside – there aren’t many places where you can get all that!
Be sure to check out Darbys Pub and Restaurant on Facebook or visit their website for further information.