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THETFORD — In a land of traditional English pubs where the special is a pint of beer, The Red Lion pub stands out.

The outside of The Red Lion doesn’t really catch the eye, but once inside, global dance music — played at a tolerable level — entices the ears.

Behind the bar, Portuguese, Brazilian and English breads and pastries are on display next to a cooler of an assortment of beers including Sagres and Super Bock and a few popular Portuguese beers. On the other side of the bar, 17 liquor bottles hang upside down waiting to be poured into a shot glass or fused with fruit juices and sodas.

With a drink in hand, patrons can stand at the bar and mingle or stake their claim in a quiet or socializing atmosphere in any of the three seating areas.

Even though the pub offers plenty of alcohol to customers, Clair West, co-owner of The Red Lion, insists they shouldn’t feel pressured to succumb to it.

“We didn’t want it to be a typical English pub. You can just have coffee and chill out; you don’t have to have a beer,” she said.

A variety of entrees, from a T-bone steak and king prawns to grilled sea bass, is available. A Portuguese-style of bread called Pao is also on the menu. If the food isn’t enough, a kebab house is right next door.

On the weekends, the pub gets bumping with disco parties. No, not the Studio 54 kind, but a mixture of dance music played from 8 to 11 p.m. The Red Lion will hold a Brazilian Carnival Disco event on Feb. 24 and 25, featuring music, dancing and costumes.

The majority of people who come to The Red Lion are Portuguese, but Benvindo Ramos, the pub’s Portuguese co-owner, said he still would like to see more Americans.

“Americans are welcomed,” he said. “I invite American people I see at other pubs to visit my pub and tell them, ‘I’ll buy you the first drink.’”

As always, if you drink, do so responsibly. Don’t drink and drive.

The Red Lion

Location: Market Place, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2AL

Food: The pub’s menu offers a variety of seafood and meat entrees from £7.50 to £12. Portuguese, Brazilian and English breads and pastries are also available.

Drink: Good selection of international beers, spirits and nonalcoholic drinks.

Ambience: Friendly, diverse mixture of people set in a chilled-out atmosphere with dance music played lightly overhead, except during disco nights.

Service: Relaxed but cordial.


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