New landlord pledges a change of tune for pub

Jim Rowbotham is planning to host live bands at the Old Chequers at Friston.

Jim Rowbotham is planning to host live bands at the Old Chequers at Friston. - Credit: Denise Bradley

New publicans are hoping to strike a chord with music fans by hosting live bands at their village hostelry. 

Jim Rowbotham, 44, has taken over the Old Chequers in Friston with his partner Maddie and daughter Cerys and is hoping to hold regular music nights, featuring bands including his own group Roach. 

He said there would be regular theme nights, along with folk music and quiz evenings to keep customers entertained. 

Jim Rowbotham, new landlord of the Old Chequers at Friston, with his daughter Cerys.

Jim Rowbotham, new landlord of the Old Chequers at Friston, with his daughter Cerys. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mr Rowbotham used to be an assistant head at Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft but wanted a change of career and he was already familiar with the pub business from having played live at venues with his band. 

His partner, meanwhile, had also worked in pubs. 

“I wanted a change of career because I had been in education for a long while, but I wanted to be in the pub business because I had been in it before and I saw this opportunity had come up,” Mr Rowbotham said. 

The couple took over on March 18 after the previous owners had retired and moved to Lincolnshire. 

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Mr Rowbotham was born in Ipswich and has lived in Friston for the last 10 years, while his partner is originally from Hampshire. 

Jim Rowbotham, new landlord of the Old Chequers at Friston, which is to be a music pub with Jim and

Jim Rowbotham, new landlord of the Old Chequers at Friston, which is to be a music pub with Jim and his band Roach playing regularly. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The new owners have also retained the services of the award-winning chef who worked with the previous publicans, Dave Newton. 

“The pub was already in a good state when we took it over, but we will be looking to put our mark on it.  

“We have kept the chef, who is really good and we were flat out by Mothering Sunday, which was our second weekend in charge. One of the reasons we opened so quickly was because we wanted a first run on the weekend,” Mr Rowbotham added. 

He said the last landlords had made the pub "a really good, foodie pub" and he had been looking for a pub to run for about two years.