While many of our pubs are closing their doors for good, one boozer in Netherfield is today (28) bucking the trend by celebrating its 21st anniversary.
It’s Inn The Bank first opened up to the public on February 28, 1999 and has since gone from strength to strength.
The couple who have been at the helm for almost a quarter of a century are David and Nicola Murphy.
David was first brought in to project manage the building’s transformation from a Lloyds bank into a pub and manage the business – but was then invited to take over as landlord two years later.
Over the past 21 years, Mr Murphy said he’d experienced many highs and lows whilst running the public house on Victoria Road, but was quick to point out his most memorable moment.
“It was when I met my wife while working here,” he said.
“She came in for a drink one night and I fell in love with her immediately. She then started working behind the bar a few months later and we eventually got together.
Wife and co-owner Nicola Murphy said the pub’s continual success was down to having so many loyal customers who continually support for their endeavours.
“It’s an absolute honour to serve the people who drink here in Netherfield,” she said.
“Our customers are the real stars of the show and time and time again come along and get involved in all of our events we hold here – whether it be fancy dress theme nights or donating their time and money to our charity events.
“They make it a joy to come to work every day.”
Mrs Murphy said becoming landlady of the pub wasn’t something she ever expected.
She said: “When I first walked in here 18 years ago, I would never have guessed I’d be running the place, let alone married to the guy behind the bar I bought a drink for that night.”
Pub chef Michael Mulligan, who the owners now describe as ‘family’, has also been with the business for 21 years and remembers the day he applied for the job.
He said: “I was working at a pub in Thurgarton and I remember driving past during a split shift and noticed the scaffolding. I soon learnt it wasn’t going to be a bank anymore and was being transformed into a pub.
“I put a note through the door asking for work and a few days later sat down with David and he offered me the job.
Mulligan’s cooking proved a hit at the venue and when The Bank had a restaurant space upstairs, he was cooking up over 500 meals a month for hungry customers.
His weekday menu and Sunday dinners remain popular and are available to eat in or takeaway each weekend.
A number of celebrities have also walked through the Bank’s doors since its opening. They include footballers Martin O’Neil, Andy Reid and Roy Carrol along with French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and Coronation Street star Chris Gascoigne, who have all supped ale in the legendary Netherfield boozer.
But not every celebrity spotted drinking in the pub was the real deal, as David Murphy recalls.
He said: “One night when we were off work we got a call from a regular who told us that the woman who played Janice Battersby in Coronation Street was drinking in our pub. We quickly drove down hoping to meet her and it turned out to be Helen, who worked at Bargain Booze across the road who looked a bit like her. A case of mistaken identity”
To this day, the pub remains a popular drinking spot locals in the town.
Mr Murphy said he didn’t know what the secret was behind their continual success, but said: “We know we must be doing something right due to the amount of local people that still walk through those doors each day after 21 years.”