Long-serving landlord Gerry Dolan retired from The Westminster Arms after exactly three decades behind the bar.
Gerry, 68, began managing the central London pub, which has been owned by independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame for the past 15 years, on September 4, 1993.
His long pub career started in his home town of Cavan, Ireland where he worked as a barman before moving to Dublin and then to London in 1989. It was rounded off with some emotional moments for him as past and present colleagues, as well as a few well-known faces including former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, popped by to see him.
Gerry said: “I purposely timed my retirement to coincide with my 30th anniversary at the pub. It has been an amazing three decades - I’ve served everybody. You name it, they’ve been here – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof and Prince Edward. I think a lot of the celebrities come in here because we never bother them. They just come in here for a quiet drink.”
The Westminster Arms is in the heart of political London, a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament. A particular favourite with MPs, it features a division bell so they can dash back to the House in time for the vote.
Gerry said: “I have a lot of happy memories. We have seen everything here, and have been at the heart of so many momentous events as the pub is in such a central location."
“But we got to the point where we wanted a rest – though I feel a bit emotional. I will definitely miss London.”
Gerry and wife Marie have three children and are awaiting the arrival of a fifth grandchild next month. The couple are retiring to their home in West Sussex, and immediate plans include playing golf and a month-long holiday, though Gerry is still planning on keeping busy in his retirement, saying: “I won’t be sat in front of the telly, that’s for sure!”
Shepherd Neame Chief Executive Jonathan Neame said:
“Gerry and Marie have done a fantastic job at The Westminster Arms over many years, and particularly during the past 15 years with Shepherd Neame, creating a very successful pub with a loyal customer base. They are hugely popular and will be much missed. I would like to personally thank them for their hard work and enthusiasm and wish them every success for the future.”