New bar serving gourmet grazing platters opens in Woodbridge 

A new wine bar, 1975, is opening in Gobbitts Yard, Woodbridge

A new wine bar, 1975, is opening in Gobbitts Yard, Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Filled with foliage, and accented by one of the owner’s favourite colours – orange – cool, brand-new bar, 1975, opens in Woodbridge’s Gobbitts Yard this weekend in the former Cook’s Shed premises. 

The experience, says Clare Swann, will be nothing like anything else in the riverside town.  

This is a homecoming for the Grundisburgh resident, who worked in the local hospitality industry (mostly around Felixstowe) 20 years ago, going onto run her own successful make-up artistry business. 

Clare Swann, owner of new bar, 1975, in Woodbridge

Clare Swann, owner of new bar, 1975, in Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

When Covid struck, bookings for weddings and events dwindled. And when she and other members of her family were hit by the virus, Clare says she really did sit back and take stock, thinking about where she wanted life to take her next. 

“I had the worst Christmas in 20 years last year,” she reflects. “I had to get a temporary job to get by. And when I got Covid I had to rest for 10 days. I reassessed everything and just knew I wanted to get back into hospitality, which I love.” 

Clare went on the hunt for the right premises, and found them in Gobbitts Yard, taking the keys just six days before her press night on April 27. 

“It’s been completely transformed,” she says of the building, where space has been doubled in capacity with the addition of over 30 seats outside in the courtyard. 

Inside 1975, a new bar at Gobbitts Yard in Woodbridge

Inside 1975, a new bar at Gobbitts Yard in Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

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“There’s lots of plants, including flowers from Emma’s Florist which you can purchase. We’ve got a living wall as you come in. It’s very green. And it’s a mix of high-low styling. I have a love for all things food, drink, interiors and fashion, and the bar mixes them all together. Some things are secondhand, and others are high-end pieces – for an eclectic, plush look. 

“At the front bar there are high tables and chairs, and in the back bar low tables and loungers – for a home-from-home feeling. I think it’s going to create a lot of buzz.” 

In a bid to make 1975 (the year of her birth) as sustainable as possible, Clare has worked hard to secure relationships with numerous local suppliers. And that begins with drinks. 

The wine list has been put together by Flunder, with a recommendation for every single dish on the menu. 

Beers come from down the road at Clare’s friend’s microbrewery Mr Bees, from Adnams, and hopefully soon The Krafty Braumeister. 

A new wine bar 1975 is opening in Gobbits Yard Woodbridge PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Inside 1975 bar, Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Inside Woodbridge's newest bar, 1975

Inside Woodbridge's newest bar, 1975 - Credit: Charlotte Bond

There are pre-mixed cocktails made in Suffolk by Niche and Edmunds. Plus, three signature cocktails designed especially for the bar. 

“Orange is our main branding colour, so we’ve got a house Aperol Spritz to tie in with that,” Clare says, adding that her chef has made Aperol cured salmon and Aperol sorbet to pick up on the colour scheme too. 

“We have a Negroni – very 70s, and one of my favourite drinks. And then there’s the 1975 – our rhubarb and custard cocktail. It’s served with a rhubarb and custard sweet on the side and is made with rhubarb gin, Advocaat, apple juices and rhubarb pieces. It’s amazing – especially if you eat the sweet at the same time!” 

Then comes the food. 

“I love, when I go out, to have a few starters and some fries and to share and pick at things. And grazing platters are trending everywhere, so that seemed like the perfect concept to me. Everything is sourced locally, including charcuterie from Suffolk Salami and cheeses from Hamish Johnson. 

“And they are very substantial, with lots of different elements. After Covid, and people distancing themselves, I wanted to bring everyone back together again, and create a bit of good feeling and a talking point. Sharing food is quite an intimate thing.” 

One of the dining spaces at 1975, a new bar serving wine, cocktails and grazing platters at Gobbitts Yard in Woodbridge

One of the dining spaces at 1975, a new bar serving wine, cocktails and grazing platters at Gobbitts Yard in Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

All platters come with bread and crackers, and are sized to feed two people (with single platters available). They include cheese, charcuterie, fish and vegan options. 

The menu also includes open sandwiches made with bread from Harvey & Co, Bagel or Beigel’s doughy rounds filled Reuben style, or with chef’s Aperol-cured salmon and cream cheese, a few stand-alone dishes such as smoked haddock souffle....and a range of homemade bar snacks and cakes. 

Clare’s very excited about their dessert platter too. “It comes with our house made Arctic roll and other goodies!” 

1975’s soft launch is tonight, with reduced hours and a reduced menu over the weekend of snacks and wine, before the official full opening on May 7. 

The bar will then be open from 11am to 3pm and from 5pm to 10pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10am to 10.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 10am to 2pm on Sundays. 

It’ll be open on bank holidays, and private hire is available on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

“it’s a bit surreal,” Clare says of the opening. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet and it’s all quite overwhelming, but this isn’t a job for me. I love every single part of it and it’s just been a joy getting to this point. This is something special and a bit different for Woodbridge and I hope it will help bring more people into the town. We’ve got lots planned. There will be surprise entertainment, and we’ve got plans for barbecues, fondue nights, wine tastings and so much more!”