IT is the end of an era in Dursley as the landlord and lady of a celebrated pub which gained national recognition under their management calls time at the bar one last time.
Steve and Belinda Herbert have run the Old Spot Inn on May Lane for just under 13 years and in that time have won dozens of awards for the pub’s hospitality, good food and real ales.
As well as winning the Campaign For Real Ale’s (CAMRA) best pub awards at district and regional level numerous times, the pub achieved the pinnacle of public house celebrity when it won National Pub of the Year in 2007.
The Old Spot is again in the shortlist of the final four to regain the title for 2013, which will be announced in February, but by then the Herberts will have moved on to pastures new as they take on a new pub, the Beehive in Cheltenham.
Bridget Schoombie has worked behind the bar under the management of the couple throughout their time at the inn and said that longevity says it all about the kind of people they were like to work for and described the time as “incredible”.
“They are like my surrogate parents, they really are,” she said.
“It says a lot that you work for them for so long. It‘s definitely is going to be different here.”
The couple could be spotted regularly in the Gazette over the last decade, both for their awards and the numerous charity and community events hosted by the pub.
Talking about the move with the Gazette, Mr Herbert said the new pub would offer a new challenge for them and that it was a similar establishment to the Old Spot.
“I have had the best 12 years here. It’s been absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“This is going to sound cheesy but you can’t beat the customers here. I don’t think there’s another pub in the world with customers like this. I mean that."
The landlord describes the happiest moment being when they got the call saying they had won the national pub of the year award.
He admitted to thinking it was a prank call and actually hanging up the phone.
Other memorable moments for the landlord include visits from the Hairy Bikers as well as from US chef and Hell’s Kitchen contestant Ralph Pagano.
“It’s never been boring. That’s the fun of the job. I will miss it terribly,” he said.
A leaving party is being held at the Old Spot on Saturday night (January 25) before they move to the Beehive, which they expect to start running from Monday, February 3.
The pub is set to be taken over by owner Ellie Sainty.