Bob's back at the Gollan
AFTER years away from the helm, charismatic Gollan Hotel owner Bob McKenzie has returned with his right-hand-manager, Gavin Myers, to lift the iconic Lismore pub into the 21st century.
"There's still plenty of life in the old girl yet," he declares sizing up the classic structure built in 1935.
The born and bred Lismore boy first leased the pub in 1983 - going on to purchase it in 1990 - but he remembers its heyday better than most - particularly the event that put it on the map, the 1954 Royal visit when the Queen and royal entourage stayed there.
"My wife and I were standing right over there," he said, motioning to the opposite corner.
"There were thousands and thousands of people - you could not move in this town."
The energetic octogenarian born in 1929, still has plenty of spring in his step but has pulled in his long time manager and mate, Gavin Myers
"I came here at the end of 1985, that's when I first worked for Bob, then I went away in 1989 but came back again and leased it off him in 1999," Mr Myers said.
"Then I went away in 2005 so I'm three times back now."
Mr Myers is keen to get stuck in but wants to retain the core elements that still carry the hotel.
"Like all pubs it needs an upgrade - food and gaming is the big way hotels go these days and we did 80 T-bone steaks on Tuesday night so that's a good sign.
"But we've always had a good music niche here which we want to continue," he said.
"That's especially to promote the local original talent around here.
"That little stage has got quite a bit of nostalgia - Grinspoon played their first gig here."
Mr Myers says the saddles and country theme will probably go.
"That might've worked in an old country town but not here," he said.
"These days you've got to have the whole package and we are licensed till the early hours of the morning so you've got to utilise all your hours.
"There are a lot of hotels in this town so you've got to chase the market and the beauty of Lismore is there is such a diverse culture of people that you can cater for - it's a city where you can do just that."