Inverness publicans toast their loyal customers

HIGHLAND publicans Craig MacLeod and Collette MacPherson have marked their tenth anniversary at the helm of their Inverness pub by raising a glass to the customers that have helped them weather the pandemic.

The duo took on the lease of The Innes Bar in March 2011 before extensively refurbishing the historic pub, which dates back to the 1700s.

In the past year, as the pandemic swept across Scotland, they adapted their offer, refurbishing their outdoor area into an all-weather space and introducing a takeaway food and drink service.

“The pandemic has been very tough,” said Craig.

“We were extremely fortunate to have much of our rent cancelled by Star Pubs & Bars, without that it would have been very difficult.

“We couldn’t have got through COVID – or the last ten years – without the community though. They have backed us all the way and got behind all the changes we’ve made.

“We’re very grateful, it has meant the world to us, particularly over the last year. We’d hoped to thank them with a party on our anniversary but that’ll have to wait and, for now, we’re raising a virtual glass to everyone. We can’t wait to open the doors and welcome them back.”

Mick Howard, operations director at Star Pubs & Bars, said the operators “turned the pub around ten years ago and have kept it at the top of its game ever since”.

“To have made even more improvements during a pandemic is an outstanding achievement that requires real commitment,” said Howard.

“We’ve been delighted to help out with rent support. Hats off and happy anniversary to them. We wish them all the best.”

The couple are currently undertaking another small revamp of the pub ahead of its reopening to the public in the coming months.