Kirkcaldy pub ushers in new era as stalwart publican hands over reins after a decade

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A Kirkcaldy publican will hand over the reins to a Kirkcaldy institution next week, after over a decade in charge.

Dallas MacKay opened the doors to the Duchess of Kirkcaldy on Nicol Street ten years ago, but has decided now is the time to take a step back, with bar manager Blythe Marshall taking over.

The Duchess – named after the Beatles song ‘The Duchess Of Kirkcaldy’ – first opened its doors in August 2013 and has since become one of the landmark venues in the Lang Toun. Dallas called the experience a “whirlwind”.

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She said: “There are mixed emotions obviously but I’m really excited for Blythe to take it on. It's all here for him – it's literally just advancing what we’ve got.

Dallas MacKay has been at the helm for a decade but will hand over the reins to Blythe Marshall from next week (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Dallas MacKay has been at the helm for a decade but will hand over the reins to Blythe Marshall from next week (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Dallas MacKay has been at the helm for a decade but will hand over the reins to Blythe Marshall from next week (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“It's been 10 years at the end of this month since we opened, and it’s been a total whirlwind. It's been absolutely amazing and the numbers of people who still come is mind blowing. It’s really overwhelming that we have created something this amazing.”

Over the last 10 years, the Duchess has become a go-to place for nights out, food and live music, and Dallas is able to name check a raft of talent to have played the venue in recent years.

She said: “My highlight was probably my hero, Simon Fowler from Ocean Colour Scene, coming in and playing here twice, plus some of my own childhood heroes, John Power from Cast, Mark Morris from The Bluetones and Chris Helme from The Seahorses.

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“The charity gigs that we've had havew been special too – and just being so busy, keeping the turnover, I’m just overwhelmed with the support I’ve received from the people of in Kirkcaldy.”

The Duchess breathed new life into a building that had sat empty for years – it was previously Nicols and some will remember it as Uncle Tom’s Cabin pub – before a complete transformation got underway. The.with drinkers ling names

While Dallas will take a step back from the day to day running, she said she’ll still be involved in some way, shape or form.

She explained: “It's unique set up. Blythe worked for me for two years I own the property so it's still going to be very much Blythe running the place and owning the business side of things, but I'm still here and we'll very much work together to keep it place on top”.

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Blythe comes with a raft of experience having run Pettycur Bay Holiday Park and the Carousel in Kinghorn. He said: “I'm looking forward to it. I'm a bit nervous but I’m very confident I'll be able to keep up with Dallas's high standard”.

While there might not be any major changes, he hopes to bring fresh new ideas to the Duchess.

He explained: “We're getting in some different tribute bands, maybe a couple of comedy nights, and more DJ sets. The place runs really well as is so there’s not much point changing that- it’s just a question of putting in fresh new ideas.”

Despite the pub's success, it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing in recent years. It faced eight weeks of closure in 2020 following a flood, whilst also dealing with Covid restrictions.

Dallas said: “There wasn’t much provision put in place for businesses at this scale but we’ve made it.”