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Bar Man, July 21, 2017

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The suggestions are in, the votes counted and the competition is over.

The name of the new micropub in the old Jessops shop, on the High Street in Lynn, has been revealed.

It is to be the Nip and Growler. It might sound like a pair of dogs, like Boddington and Ruddles who used to inhabit the Bank House, but my guess is that the name is inspired by old fashioned drinking vessels.

A Nip is a small glass usually used for strong drink, and it also inspired the alliterative name of the Woodforde’s beer Norfolk Nip, a 7% winter ale based on a 1929 recipe from Steward and Pattesons.

Less well known is the growler. It is a jug with a cap that can be sealed so that draught beer can be easily transported home from the pub. The origins seem to lie in small galvanised pails used in the 19th century, but modern ones are more likely to be made from glass with either a screw top or a Grolsch-type flip top. They are much more common in America than over here, where the carry keg has performed a similar function.

So, as names go, Nip and Growler has a lot going for it. It is short and snappy, easy to remember and probably unique. It references the pleasurable experience of having a sample of a strong ale and also subtly encourages the customers to take home some of their favourite beer for later.

It will also provide another entry for the excellent norfolkpubs.co.uk website which has details of all the pubs that have existed in the county. Browsing through the Lynn section reveals some of the other strange names that have existed in town,

The Black Joke has been the subject of a former column, whilst the Black Goose which was situated opposite the Tudor Rose was once the headquarters of the Press Gang. The ‘Who Would Have Thought It?’ was a small brewery with an obscure exit onto Sedgeford Lane, which was described as ‘visited by persons who would not normally be seen on licensed premises.’ The Wisbech Telegraph on Chapel Street was named after the coach service between the two towns, and was probably the departure point in Lynn.

It later became the Sociable, the name of the type of coach which was used on the route. The Goat on Friars Street was demolished in around 1957 and one of the windows apparently was presented to Lynn museum.

Unusual though the Goat is as a name, it used to be even more obscure. The first reference to the premises is in 1690, when it was called the Spaud, later Bell and Spaud. I have no idea what a spaud is. Perhaps it is an old spelling of spade, but why connect it with a bell?

I set me thinking of the most obscurely named pubs that I have ever visited. The Goat and Compasses in Hull, probably a corruption of the religious phrase, ‘And God Encompasses Us All’. The Bucket of Blood in Phillack in Cornwall based on the story that the landlord hauled up the bucket from a local well to find it full of blood, further investigation revealing a mutilated corpse at the bottom.

The Kremlin on Clee Hill in Shropshire which is supposed to be on the highest point between there and the Ural Mountains in Russia.

So welcome to the Nip and Growler and I hope you can create history of your own.


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