Whisky Magazine Issue 25
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John Lamond describes the miracles worked by Lennie Maguire proprietor of the St Andrew's Bar
The St Andrew's Bar is a real bar. It is what we Scots refer to as a "local", servicing the needs of the drinkers within the local community. Architecturally, it is very similar to many such hostelries throughout Scotland. What makes the St. Andrews Bar stand out from its peers is its publican, Lennie Maguire.
Lennie is not a larger-than-life character, he is quite quietly spoken; he is not an extreme character, often preferring to keep his own counsel. No, Lennie makes the difference at the St. Andrews because of his attitude to his customers and his products.
Brought up in the local licensed trade in Coatbridge, his father worked for brewers Usher's before Lennie and his wife, Celia, ran the Boundary Bar, in partnership with Lennie's brother. Their next move was to the Lincluden Inn in Dumfries before Lennie started to work for White Heather Distillers, a subsidiary of Campbell Distillers, in 1987. For six years, he was the very personable face of Aberlour, Edradour and Pernod within Lanarkshire and Glasgow, but he always had a hankering after running his own show again and eventually, in 1994, took over the lease of a run-down pub called Penny's, in Airdrie.
Within three years, Lennie and Celia turned the bar around as the Cellar Bar and regularly received plaudits from CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) for the range and quality of their ales. He also developed a gantry which contained some 400 whiskies, attracting malt whisky aficionados from all corners of the world. I...