New landlady takes over her 'dream pub' in East Bergholt

Holly Robinson has taken over the Royal Oak in East Bergholt, south Suffolk

Holly Robinson has taken over The Royal Oak in East Bergholt - Credit: Holly Robinson

A new landlady has taken the reins at her "dream pub" in the village of East Bergholt.

Holly Robinson, who has another pub in Colchester, took charge of The Royal Oak in mid-March after realising it had "such potential".

She took over the watering hole in East End just a day after the previous landlords moved out.

Holly said: "It's like my dream house and dream pub rolled into one.

The Royal Oak in East Bergholt

The Royal Oak in East Bergholt - Credit: Google Maps

"I already run The Foresters Arms in Colchester, which is lovely, like a village pub in a town, but we lack a garden or parking.

"I still love it, but The Royal Oak has such potential, it deserves someone to do a good job of it.

Holly said the pub will serve food from her burger van as it doesn't have its own kitchen, but has promised more items on the menu – including fish and chips and a cooked breakfast.

With a number of pubs in Suffolk closed after the Covid crisis, Holly said she was keen to ensure The Royal Oak was back open and serving the East Bergholt and south Suffolk community.

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She said: "So many pubs are getting closed now, places like this are few and far between. They're like gold dust.

"I've been listening to what people want from their pub, some of whom have been coming here for 30 years. 

"For the locals, this is their social time, this is their life. They don't just come in for a drink, they come in for someone to talk to."

The expansive garden at the Royal Oak in East Bergholt

The expansive garden at the Royal Oak in East Bergholt - Credit: Holly Robinson

She added: "I opened the pub the day the previous owners moved out. They hadn't been opening it much, the odd couple hours here and there.

"This annoyed quite a lot of people in the village and lost quite a lot of trade, so I'm trying to keep it open as long as I can.

"People told me this pub was quiet, but it hasn't been. I need more staff for both the bar and the kitchen."

Holly added she intends to do more than just operate a pub: "One of the things we did in the Foresters was run a little shop. We did this because we opened in lockdown."

She is also trying to make the pub a more comfortable place for women.

Holly added: "Sometimes women feel a little uncomfortable coming into a pub. I don't want that."