The publican acquired the lease for the High Street venue, which is now part of Star Pubs & Bars’ portfolio, in 1963 after being encouraged to take on the pub by his brother.
As Max recalls, the licensed trade was very different back then.
“We had one choice of beer, a pale ale, which we sold at 5p per a pint, whisky was 10p for a half measure, very few ladies frequented Scottish pubs and the pub served no food and had no entertainment,” he said.
Fast forward half a century and the Hole in the Wa’, which was built in 1620 and takes its name from a hatch in the pub’s wall which served as an early off-sales, offers food and a range of entertainment, including five TV screens, karaoke, darts, quiz nights and weekly tea dances.
Max, whose son Alan now manages the pub, described his trade career as ”very entertaining”.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” he added.
“I’ve loved meeting all the different customers and staff and if I was 25 I’d do it all again.”
Ken McGown, operations and sales director for Scotland at Star Pubs & Bars, said the pubco will be helping Max and his family celebrate the milestone later in the year.
“It’s a fantastic achievement by an outstanding publican,” he said.
Image – Alan Houliston raises a glass to his father Max at the Hole in the Wa’.