Big changes at The Wee Howff

New lessee at the helm of revamped Paisley pub

Lisa and George raise a glass to their new careers at the helm of the pub.
Lisa and George raise a glass to their new careers at the helm of the pub.

A FORMER veterinary nurse has swapped pets for pints after taking the helm of Paisley pub, The Wee Howff, last month.

Publican Lisa Dempsey is the new lessee of the Punch-owned pub, which she is running with the help of her partner, George Crawford.

But while it may be the first time Lisa’s had her name above the door, she’s no stranger to The Wee Howff, having worked in the pub part-time for the past 12 years.

She explained that it’s always been a dream of hers to someday run the pub.

So when lessees Danny and Margaret McGuigan decided to retire after 30 years at the helm, Lisa jumped at the chance.

As well as her own experience behind the bar, Lisa said she was influenced by her parents’ careers in the trade.

“Both of my parents were in the pub trade, so it’s in my blood,” she said.

Lisa’s takeover was aptly timed too, with Punch having recently completed a £100,000 refurbishment of the pub.

The work included a new back-bar, new flooring and a full refurbishment of the toilets.

While the project was wholly funded by Punch, Lisa explained that it was very much a collaborative approach when it came to making decisions on the design of the pub.

She said: “We all kind of sat down and they said ‘what do you want? How do you see it?’

“I explained that I wanted it to be the same Howff but slightly different.”

With the work completed and the pub reopened last month, Lisa reckons it now “looks better than ever”.

Iain Thomson of Punch agreed.

“This has been an extensive yet sensitive refurbishment to improve the facilities at the Wee Howff whilst retaining all of its original charm and character,” said Thomson.

“It’s great to see Lisa stepping up to become the new publican. I am sure she will do Danny and Margaret proud and we are delighted to be supporting her as she starts this exciting new chapter.”

And things are already looking good for Lisa, who admitted that The Wee Howff “doesn’t really feel like work”.

“Lots of my customers are also close friends or family so there is a real community feel here,” she said.