Kirkcaldy pub owners call time after 30 years behind the bar

The last pint has been poured at the St Clair Tavern in Kirkcaldy.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 9:18 am

The long-established pub won’t re-open after lockdown restrictions are lifted after the owners sold up.

It marks the end of an era for the Crombie family after 30 years behind the bar of one of the town’s best known bars.

It hosted many functions from live music to children’s parties as well as being a home from home for many regulars.

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Moss, Senga and Trevor Crombie outside the St Clair Tavern, St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy which they have owned for the past 30 years

The building at the foot of St Clair Street dates back to 1870, and has been a popular place for a pint with generations of local people.

For Morris - known to all as Moss - it marks the end of an era.

He was brought up in the trade - his grandfather ran the Strathearn Hotel - and ran pubs in Africa where he spent 18 years before returning to Fife.

Working as a plumber, it was Peter Hussain, who ran the Windsor Hotel, who got him back into the licensed trade.

St Clair Tavern, St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy

Moss, 75, and his wife, Senga, took over the St Clair Tavern in October 1991, buying it off brewer, Wm Younger, and it has been part of their family life ever since with son, Trevor, also on board.

The family worked seven days a week behind the bar - “I only got my first holiday after seven years!” he recalled.

“It had a bit of a bad reputation back then,” he recalled. “They weren’t bad people and there wasn’t much bother, but locals didn’t come in.

“It was used as a base for bikers, and the function room was rarely used - I think we used it four times in that first year. Now it is the heart of the business.

“We changed things around, and it became a place for regulars. At one point we went through five-kegs of Guinness a week for the old boys who came in and played dominoes.

“There were loads of characters who came in - the people we served became friends.

“I’m really disappointed not to have a party after leaving.”

Over the decades, the function room became the focal point for numerous events; from live music to political meetings - “we’ve had Labour, SNP, the Greens and the Yes campaign all use it” - as well as countless family functions.

“In the first year I think we used the big room about four times.

“As we changed things, we started up children’s Christmas parties, and we’d have over 60 kids coming along. We ran them every year until about four years ago. By the end we were into our third generation of kids!”

The family has watched the pub trade change beyond recognition over the decades as big businesses moved in, with many smaller local boozers closing down.

Moss noted: “We’ll be left with the big boys, not local owners and that’s sad.

“We have lost two generations of drinkers. Folk in their 30s and 40s either drink at home, or don’t drink, and young folk only want to go to the town centre.

“But people will miss this place.

“It has been a way of life for us.”

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