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Sister act is heady success

PUBLISHED: 13:35 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:02 03 July 2010

Aileen and Niamh Newman outside the Crystal Inn on Northgate Street in Yarmouth

Aileen and Niamh Newman outside the Crystal Inn on Northgate Street in Yarmouth

Dominic Bareham

TWO sisters are bucking the national trend and proving the day of the pub is not over.

Aileen and Niamh Newman run the Crystal Inn in Great Yarmouth, believe the personal touch is one of the reasons why their pub is surviving, and they are building a community spirit by getting to know their customers.

TWO sisters are bucking the national trend and proving the day of the pub is not over.

Aileen and Niamh Newman run the Crystal Inn in Great Yarmouth, believe the personal touch is one of the reasons why their pub is surviving, and they are building a community spirit by getting to know their customers.

With the pub's location at the top of Northgate Street close to the town centre it is attracting clientele from 20-year-olds out for a good time at the weekend to older regulars who fancy a quiet weekday pint.

Such has been the pub's popularity that a rock'n'roll night on Saturday brought in nearly 60 people, while karaoke nights organised by the sisters have also been a massive hit.

Another singalong is planned to coincide with Valentine's Day tomorrow when punters will be able to sing famous love songs and the sisters themselves may join in.

Aileen, 25, said: “We have a really loyal crowd of regulars who come in on a daily basis, but we have also seen new faces. We inherited a very strong regular clientele from the previous publicans but it is a place where strangers can come in and have a conversation as well.”

Niamh, 28, said another advantage was that as the sisters' parents Lorna and Frank Newman owned the pub and were not part of a pub company, they could choose where they bought their alcohol from.

Born in West Meath in Ireland, the sisters moved with their parents to Dublin before moving to England where the family ran pubs including The Beehive in London and The Wynford in Reading.

In December 2007, the Newmans bought the Crystal Inn - at the time Niamh was studying English literature and media writing at Greenwich University.

However, Frank died in May and Niamh moved to Yarmouth to help her sister and mother run the pub.

The only potential concern for the landladies is if trouble starts, but Niamh said regulars often help to nip any problems in the bud.

She said: “We have had a lot of very positive support. The whole community has been really behind us. It is just a really strong sense of community looking after us. They are very protective of us.”

A number of pubs in the town have been forced to close for a variety of reasons blaming the credit crunch, the smoking ban and the effects of the increase in alcohol tax.

These include The Star and Garter, The Mitre - now a wine bar, The Admiral Seymour, The Bricklayers Arms and The Elephant and Castle.


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