When we arrived in Barry, my home town, on the thirteenth of June, we were looking for a place to stay – not a hotel, but a lodging of some kind or a flat. However, we had to stay in a hotel for two days in order to have somewhere to leave our bags while we trudged around town looking for somewhere.
So, we went into the neatest pub, a Wetherspoon’s, for breakfast and asked about a room. No-one knew anywhere, but I asked a taxi driver too. He named a few pubs that I knew, but as I was walking away, he added: ‘… but don’t bother with O’Brien’s in town because it’s full of alchi’s and druggies!’
We tried all the most likely places, but without any luck, and even tried a few guesthouses, but all in vain. Then, with hours to go before becoming homeless, we were walking in town past O’Brien’s when a man who was smoking in the doorway stopped me.
‘Owen, isn’t it? Remember me?” We went inside and renewed our friendship of fifteen years previously and I told him my woes. ‘You can stay with us’, he offered.
Eleven weeks later, we are still there, and we have been back to O’Brien’s quite often.
I want to say on the record, that we have never found a more friendly pub in the UK, and that the people who frequent the establishment are among the nicest I have ever met. People can see our predicament, they are not stupid or blind, and there isn’t a visit there goes by when we are not asked how we’re doing, or when someone doesn’t offer us a drink or some helpful advice on housing, the NHS or the local authority.
Martin, the landlord, has also always been very welcoming and friendly, just like his staff and customers. It is a crying shame that this true community pub is going to have to close soon. I don’t know the ins and outs of why, but the dying town centre and its completely unjustified reputation cannot be helping.
If anyone is listening/reading who has a few bob to invest, come and take a look at the place, it would be a travesty for the local community if O’Brien’s has to close.
Please, step in and save the our community pub, some investing Angel!
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All the best,
Podcast: O’Brien’s – The Community Pub in the Centre of Barry