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Chips ‘n Pints

A pub and a fish joint join forces to give every customer the best of both worlds.

To a Brit, the only thing better than fish ‘n chips is fish ‘n chips with a pint. That’s why Grosvenor Fish Bar in Norwich, England partnered with The Birdcage across its cobblestone street in the picturesque medieval city in Norfolk. Both businesses are housed in historic buildings at St. Gregory’s Green, Pottergate, in the heart of the well-known Norwich Lanes.

Christian Motta, one of the owners of Grosvenor Fish Bar, suggested to Lauren Gregory, owner of The Birdcage, that customers be allowed to take their fish ‘n chips to the pub. “We only had the downstairs seats, and a lot of people didn’t want to go downstairs because they don’t like being underground,” he says. “Also, a lot of people like to have a drink, and we don’t have a license.”

Both businesses began to promote the exchange, including on social media, and it took off. “We put menus on the tables in The Birdcage, and I advertised The Birdcage in my shop,” Motta says. “We started slowly, but it went so well that we started delivering to The Birdcage, too. People come in to our shop and order, go over to the pub, buy their drink, and we bring their food over. Fridays and Saturdays, the pub is full of people eating fish ‘n chips.”

The Birdcage’s website mentions the collaboration, “Bringing in your own fish ‘n chips is also positively encouraged. Opposite the venue is situated one of the best fish and chip shops in Norfolk, Grosvenor Fish Bar. They offer a range of traditional fish dishes alongside some quirkier offerings such as a ‘Wacko Taco’ and the brilliant ‘Bass with Sass’.”

The idea became so popular that the two businesses started a “Fizz ‘n Chips” promotion on Fridays. Customers get a “meal deal” when they buy food at Grosvenor and a glass or small bottle of Prosecco at The Birdcage. They pay for their Fizz ‘n Chips at the pub and bring a ticket to Grosvenor Fish Bar to place their food order. The shop then finds customers in the pub via a numbered receipt.

As a result of the partnership, the pub has become busier and even underwent a redesign to look more like a bistro, taking out some of its booths and adding more tables. Word of mouth spread quickly in town. “People will walk past,” Motta says, “and remark, ‘Oh, that’s the place where you can get your fish ‘n chips and have a drink.’”

Melanie Votaw is a New York-based food and travel writer.

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