Long-serving landlord Gerry Dolan retired from The Westminster Arms on Monday (September 4), 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.”
About Shepherd Neame
Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire Amber, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including Samuel Adams Boston Lager and premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.
Shepherd Neame is not responsible for the content on third party websites.
Third-party news items that are posted on the Guild website’s news section come from press releases received by the Guild. These press releases are posted as they have been received and their publication on the Guild website is intended as an informational service provided to our members and website visitors. As such, the publication of a story from a third-party source is neither an endorsement of the content, nor its sender, by the Guild. For enquiries on any news item, please use the contact details that can be found at the bottom of each post.