It’s alright, in a roundabout sort of way…

Earlham’s Fiveways pub has in the past suffered something of a chequered reputation among locals. Under new ownership and with a recently designated student night, Features editors Hattie Griffiths and Tony Allen visited to see what has changed…

“You know, The Fiveways isn’t named Fiveways because of the five-point roundabout we’re on,” the Fiveways barman says conspiratorially as he leans against the bar opposite us. Landlord Claire finishes what he begins; the story goes that the Fiveways pub is supposedly named after the five different methods of transport – cycling, walking, driving, flying and sailing. While chatting to the owners, featuring friendly interjections from the regulars, some of whom had been frequenting the pub for over fifteen years, it was confirmed to us that before the current landlords took over just a few months ago, the pub’s reputation was less than welcoming for students. Despite this hostile track record, Claire and her husband Nigel have worked tirelessly over the last few months to bar the troublesome elements of the pub’s clientele and welcome a more diverse range of visitors – in particular, they emphasise, students.

Our first impressions upon walking into the building were ones of pleasant surprise. The interior of the pub is very spacious, with plenty of room at one end for a pool table, a large performance area slap bang in the middle and a seating area and dart board at the other end of the large bar. The performance area is used for regular karaoke nights and live music events, with upcoming performances from local band Uprising on the 14th, and artist Neil Francis in mid-November. Everyone emphasised when chatting with us that they plan to hold many events in the future, including an open-mic night and more live music, with student artists and bands welcome to perform.

And the student angle is one promoted constantly by staff and regulars at the pub. All emphasised the willingness for a dialogue with students about what they are looking for. It was even suggested that the pub could become part of the Pimp My Barrow route. They also want to take some issues of Concrete – so far, so good…

The Fiveways also serves traditional pub grub. Unfortunately, food isn’t yet served on Tuesday’s student night when we visited, but we were handed menus an idea of the food served. Don’t expect a Sunday roast, but plenty of choice is to be had with different hot dogs, burgers and baguettes and a range of sides. Despite our visit on an unfortunately foodless Tuesday, we were told of the menu’s availability from Wednesday to Saturday from 12-7pm, and 12-6pm on Sundays.

Like many older pubs, the Fiveways can trace its history back through the decades and its previous landlords. We discussed the demise of many other watering holes both locally and nationally, and the good location that has seen the Fiveways endure.

The Fiveways is presents itself now as a welcoming place for bands to play, society socials to be hosted and catch-ups to be had just a five-minute walk from campus. Where once it appeared hostile to students, the new owners and band of staff and regulars who have survived their new “zero-tolerance” policy on drugs and violence make it a far more welcoming environment than its previous reputation suggests.