Sunday, May 27, 2007

Goodbye London Lounge

The decor hadn't changed in 25 years. The menu didn't showcase Wagyu beef or anything drizzled in truffle oil. And sometimes the television was too loud. But for my Sunday session dollar, or a quick weeknight pint, you couldn't beat the London Lounge.

The London Lounge, one of the few remaining Dunedin Institutions located on the corner of London and George Streets, closed its doors for the last time on the 28th of May, 2007. It's as sad as the prospect of yet another irish pub (and a franchise at that) being opened in the downtown core. Combine that with the loss of a REAL Kiwi pub.. a publican who met every customer with a good natured "How's things?" and staff who are friendly as, even on the busiest of nights (which was often), and you have a tragedy indeed.

And then there was the loss of the regulars.. another matter altogether. The London Lounge was frequented by an assortment of punters: duty managers of other city pubs, families, students, and, by virtue of being THE 'after practice' pub of choice, the local Anglican church choir. Where they have taken their lively conversation, opinions and insight to present day Dunedin and the Dunedin of years gone by, is anyone's guess. They were regulars in the true sense of the word and wherever they decide to frequent from now on is lucky to have them.

"How's things?"

"Ah, good, and you?"

"Yep, good good. Bookbinder?"

A nod. "Please."

The pint is passed across the bar.

"Thanks. Bill not in tonight?" I ask. Hopping on a barstool and hoping to be regaled with more tales of adventures from years tending the viaducts on the Central Otago Rail Line.

"Ah, bit on the early side for Bill yet.. " Greg says, " give him another half hour."

And on the clock.. there's Bill.

Greg, Glynnis, Ellie, all the staff of the London Lounge and the collective crew of regulars are sorely missed.

28-05-2007

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