Recent visitors to Norwich may have noticed that the Ten Bells pub has been closed—an upsetting discovery for the many fans of this establishment. The Ten Bells has a rich history, with noticeable patrons such as Jack the Ripper. It is one of the old, classic pubs in the area, and many felt its absence acutely.
However, the pub was not closed for good; it has recently reopened with a new brand that is sensitive to the pub’s history while referencing the establishment’s past. The main change is in the signage on the side of the building in which the pub is located; instead of ‘Ten Bells’, the name is now ‘X Bells’. The same historic sign with the picture of ten bells with the words ‘Greene King’ below will remain the same. The inside of the pub has been modernized as well, and the food and drink offerings changed to appeal to modern palates while still featuring old favourites.
Pub branding is an interesting exercise in UK logo design. It is important that the pub maintain the old-fashioned atmosphere that people expect from a pub. After all, if we want something modern and sleek, we will visit a club. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with a more sumptuous pub, or one with a wider variety of offerings. There is certainly room for modernisation in pubs, even in the brand and logo design.
The Ten Bells pub now includes a whisky bar that has one hundred brands of the liquor for lovers of hard alcohol. The back bar has also been redesigned to resemble the inside of a barrel. New furniture and re-finished flooring complete the picture. The changes will definitely set the pub apart from its competition—and this is crucial because there is no shortage of competition in the area. St. Benedict’s Street, where the Ten Bells is located, is seen as the heart of Norwich and boasts a large number of drinking establishments.
The goal of the refurbishment was not to create a more modern atmosphere necessarily, but to make the pub a pleasant place for casual get-togethers. It will retain the atmosphere of a classic pub, but also maintain an upscale feeling. With few whisky bars in the area, the whisky bar will certainly draw in a new clientele.
The name was kept the same, due to its history dating back to the eighteenth century, and the red phone box that was a beloved part of the decoration has been retained as well. In short, the refurbishment has kept the better parts of the old pub and added to them.
Norwich residents are being encouraged by local media to give locally owned businesses preference, as part of a ‘Love Your Local’ campaign. Hopefully this campaign combined with the modernisation of many key businesses will keep local commerce strong while building the legendary character of the area.