A woman who fled her native Ukraine in the wake of Russia's invasion has reopened a landmark pub in Newport. The Lamb in Bridge Street has stood just off the high street for 160 years making it one of the city's oldest.

The three-storey pub, which is Grade-II listed, originally opened in 1864 but changed hands a number of times in recent years before Admiral Taverns decided to put it up for sale. It closed in early 2023 and was later put on the market.

Now the famous watering hole is set for a new future as it reopened under new management on St David's Day. Vladyslava Krapyvka has taken over the running of the pub and will be serving more than 200 spirits, real ales, and wines from local suppliers as well as offering live music and an events space.

READ MORE: Food stall that sells incredible oversized smash burgers set to open permanent site in Cardiff

READ MORE: Welsh fish and chip shop crowned the best in the UK

Vladyslava is originally from Ukraine but moved to Wales with her teenage son under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme in March 2022 and arrived in Newport in the wake of Russia's invasion of her home country. Speaking to WalesOnline, Vladyslava said she decided to make the move days after troops began arriving on Ukrainian soil as she sought a new life for herself and her son.

"The first time I saw The Lamb was in the middle of March 2022 when I had just arrived to Newport," she said. "I visited it and it looked very old but nice and I felt this is a place with history. At the same time it looked a bit sad and tired. I felt sorry for regulars of The Lamb when it shut down. Places like this are a part of the city. They can't just disappear or stay neglected."

Vladyslava used to run a family pub in Ukraine which offered local beer rather than those from commercial outlets and said she was excited by the idea of doing the same. So when the lease for The Lamb became available she jumped at the chance. "I know and appreciate the culture of the appreciation of beer, ale, and cider," she said. "We have a lot of options in this country and Europe and I want to share the lovely ales that I have found with people of Newport."

Vladyslava Krapyvka
Vladyslava Krapyvka said the pub captured her attention when she first arrived in Newport having fled the war in her native Ukraine

Vladyslava took on the lease and has invested her life savings into The Lamb as well as enlisting support from friends and family to give the pub a £25,000 renovation for the first phase of its refurbishment, including the ground floor and building maintenance. The pub reopened on March 1. Vladyslava hopes the venue will eventually be able to offer masterclasses and tasting events as well as storytelling and folk groups.

"The Lamb is famous for its history with real ales, so we are going to keep this tradition. We are 'free of tie' so not beholden to breweries. We will have four commercial beers. The rest are from local craft breweries and spirit producers. We are going to offer our customers new products and tastes and have already reached out the local Camra members for their opinions about what we should be offering in the future.

"At opening we will have ales from Hive Mind Brewery of Caldicot, Misfit Brewery of Caerphilly, and Zulu Alpha Brewery of Caldicot as well as stouts from Anglo Oregon Brewery in Newport and next week we have some ales on the way from Mumbles Brewery and Wild Horse Brewing in Llandudno.

"Around Easter time we will have our food offering ready which will be based around something like a craft beer tapas with stout pies, beer-battered onion rings, and cheese boards," she said. "We have some 'meet the brewer' nights planned for April as well as music bingo, karaoke, and live music events. We want to dedicate our Sunday music to 'original artist' music so no covers, just originals, and allow our local musicians to play their songs to an audience without requests for Sweet Caroline – we will save that for our live music on a Saturday night."

The pub seen from the outside with an advertising A-board outside
The Lamb reopened its doors on Friday, March 1

With exciting developments in Newport including the new 500-capacity Corn Exchange venue – which also opens this weekend – Vladyslava said she hopes the reopening of The Lamb can play its part in breathing more new life into the high street. "Newport is a city with big potential and great history with Tredegar House, the Transporter Bridge, Bellevue Park, the Medieval Ship, and the Westgate hotel," she said.

"Unfortunately now the town centre looks somewhat abandoned and unloved. It isn't right – it's a heart of the city, people need it. From my past as a historian I love history and I found lots of old pictures where the centre of Newport looks like London or Paris. Busy streets with crowd of people, shops, restaurants, progress, positive vibes. The people of Newport, we are the blood of the city.

"I went to one of the local business networking events recently where Newport was described as 'Schrödinger's City' – up and coming and down and spiralling at the same time. I think we are just going through changes where cities are becoming more experience-led and whilst tradition is valued people want to be excited about creativity and art."

Speaking about her time living in Wales so far Vladyslava said she'd been given a warm welcome by people in Newport and that previous regulars of The Lamb had already been passing by asking about its reopening plans while she and those helping with its renovations have been inside. "The people of Newport are amazing," she said. "Welsh people are very warm-hearted and friendly. I have travelled a lot across the UK during the two last years and I can confidently say Welsh people are the friendliest. If somewhere in the UK a stranger compliments you, smiles, or wishes you a good day you can be sure they are probably Welsh."

The Lamb reopened on Friday and has offers of £1 off a pint for its opening weekend. Initial opening hours will be Tuesday to Thursday 12pm-11pm and Friday 12pm-1am, Saturday 11am-1am, and Sunday 12pm-11pm except bank holidays.

Join the WalesOnline WhatsApp community

WalesOnline has launched a new breaking news and top stories WhatsApp community. From the biggest court stories to the latest traffic updates, weather warnings and breaking news, it's a simple way to stay up to date with what's happening in Wales.

Want to join? All you have to do is click on this link, select 'Join Community' and you're in. We will not spam your feed with constant messages, but you will receive updates from us daily.

If for some reason you decide you no longer want to be in our community, you can leave by clicking on the name at the top of your screen and clicking 'Exit Group'. We occasionally treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. You can read our Privacy Notice here.

Join our WhatsApp community here.