Monday, April 15, 2024

The Two Julians

We straddle the Waveney so you don't have to.

The Two Julians
King's Lynn

King’s Lynn – Bank House

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The fourth pub of the day for Julian and I on our study tour to King’s Lynn was rather decadent, the upmarket Bank House. This is one of the newer pubs in the town as it only opened in 1983 and remained open for a decade before partly being turned into offices.

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There are numerous different dates online about when the building was reopened as a restaurant, bar and hotel, but it’s all rather glamorous. It was first constructed in the seventeenth century as a merchant’s house and was then turned into a bank which was used by the Gurneys, later part of Barclays Bank.

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The venue has its own plaque and there’s an extensive history of the building on their web-site which includes:

“A stunning Grade II * listed Georgian townhouse, described by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the finest houses in King’s Lynn, Bank House was built in the early 18th Century for one of King’s Lynn’s richest merchants. Underneath the house extensive barrel roofed vaults extend down to the river where wine imported from the continent would have been stored before being shipped on to Cambridge, Ely or the North.

In the 1780s Joseph Gurney set up his first bank in Bank House. A dent is visible in the wooden floor of the Counting House, now the front room of the Brasserie, where nervous customers once shuffled their feet as they waited at the cashiers’ desk to make their withdrawals.”

And any building that Pevsner likes, I’m fairly certain that I’m going to like as well.

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The area where “nervous customers once shuffled their feet” is where that hatch is located.

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This is the front room of the Brasserie and the room to the right is the former bank manager’s office.

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And here is that room, the former bank manager’s office, which is now the bar area. It’s all tastefully decorated although some of the seating feels more decorative than functional.

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There were two real ales available, 61 Deep and Pedigree which are both from Marstons. I went for the 61 Deep, which is a reference to how deep the well is at Marston’s brewery in Burton, and it was well-kept and at the appropriate temperature (the beer, not the well in Burton). Julian went for a soft drink, so I assumed that he was very unwell and I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again in a hurry. I didn’t like to say anything.

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I thought that this was a rather smartly laid out venue and there were numerous dining rooms and seating areas. The team members were friendly and welcoming, so it felt inviting despite the grand surroundings. I’m not sure that many people go in just for a drink as this is primarily a dining venue, but they’re welcome to do so and there are a few tables to sit at. We were visiting in the afternoon and they were still serving, although they didn’t have many customers at that point.

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The food menus and I thought that the prices seemed quite agreeable given the decadence of the surroundings.

This venue couldn’t have been much different from the previous two pubs we had been to, both Craft Union, but I enjoyed the environment and it all felt informal. There’s always something exciting about being in a building with so much heritage and I wouldn’t rule out returning here for a meal. All rather lovely.