Nick Bromfield: Tributes paid to owner and 'mine host' of Kirkcaldy's Harbour Bar
Tributes have been paid to Nick Bromfield, long-standing Kirkcaldy publican and owner of the Harbour Bar who has died at the age of 70.
He passed away last Thursday at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee following complications from diabetes.
Originally from Edinburgh, Nick was educated at the prestigious public school, Charterhouse, and had a background in accountancy and owned a small magazine, Midnight Media, while also being involved in the pub trade.
He worked for Belhaven in Edinburgh, managing The Starbank Inn at Newhaven for many years, and was also involved with Harry’s Bar.
The first pub Nick and his wife Gillie bought in Fife was The Strathmiglo Inn.
Nick was a huge fan of real ale and cask-conditioned ale and introduced it to the village.
Long-time friend Bill Torrance said: “He was really conscientious and a determined operator.
"What brought him to Fife was the opportunity to buy the freehold of a first licensed premises.
"He and Gillie had it for a few years and Nick was instrumental in bringing cask ale to that part of the region.”
Nick went on to buy The Harbour Bar in Kirkcaldy in 1992.
It had been a pub since 1924, and was previously a ship's chandlers with a history dating to around 1870.
He began a small brewery, The Fyfe Brewing Company, in the old sail works behind the venue – it was the first time beer had been brewed commercially in the Kingdom since 1926.
The Harbour Bar had a real community-feel among its regulars, and it barely changed across the decades.
Nick wanted to create a village pub in the town, and it became renowned for its real ales and craft beers which he brewed himself.
Bill said: “Nick was someone who wasn’t afraid to go for new opportunities – if something came along which wasn’t mainstream, it would capture his attention. He would make a judgement to see if it was right for his business and his customers and if so, would press ahead with it."
One quirky feature Nick introduced was the front page of a broadsheet newspaper, and a selection of other pages, pinned above the gents’ urinals every morning.
Bill continued: “It was always a broadsheet.
"If The Times was not available, then The Scotsman, when it was a broadsheet, used to go up along with The Herald. It wasn’t the red tops – it would always be a top-end paper.”
Paying tribute, Bill added: "He was well-educated man, very articulate when he spoke and had a good sense of humour.
"He liked a laugh. With the papers he was trying to say ‘look there is more to life than Tennent’s lager and the Daily Record.’
"He knew very few of his customers would buy these papers, and so it was a case of saying let me broaden your horizons.”
Bill said Nick was a well-known fixture behind the bar, with help from Gillie for many years – he knew it was important for him to be seen by his customers.
Nick was also involved with the Fife Licensed Trade Association and was passionate about the pub industry.
Nick is survived by his wife Gillie and his funeral will be held on August 5 at 12.45pm in Kirkcaldy Crematorium.