Te Atatu Tavern Interior Mobile

Te Atatū Tavern Barmaid remembers bygone days

It's been nearly forty years since Lucy Holloway nee Stoneman lived in Te Atatū Peninsula.

But the King Country resident vividly recalls life as a pioneer barmaid at the West Auckland suburb’s first watering hole.

Members of the community will farewell the Te Atatū Tavern at a night market on October 28 before it is deconstructed due to health and safety hazards.

Seventy-five-year-old Lucy fondly remembers making history as one of the first bartenders at the pub, built in 1974. She and fellow mixologist Margaret prepared the bar for opening, believed to be a Tuesday night when patrons were welcomed with free drinks for the first hour.

People would flock from all over West Auckland to visit the area’s only pub, Lucy says. The tavern was brimming- especially from Thursday to Saturday nights.

Regulars would shout out Lucy’s name in recognition whenever they saw the barmaid off-duty strolling around Te Atatū Peninsula.

Working at the pub was far from dull.

Stationed in the lounge bar, Lucy was not permitted to serve patrons from the public bar. But one night a man from the public inn marched brazenly into her section. The manager, “a wee fellow with a bit of an arrogant attitude” refused to serve him, she says. The peeved patron grabbed the barmaster by the scruff of the neck, hauled him over the counter and “gave him a bit of a dusting.” Brawls broke out frequently at the public saloon.

Lucy says she fielded many sob stories from men complaining that their wives failed to understand them and that their bosses were mean. But she did not take it to heart. She had her own worries to contend with.

Lucy worked at the pub for about two years to support her family before leaving to become a welder and supervisor at a factory in Te Atatū Peninsula.

Residents and loyal patrons can gather to share more stories and bid the historic building farewell later this month from 5 pm to 10 pm at 3 Pringle Road, Te Atatū Peninsula. They can browse the market and buy memorabilia from the tavern at a charity auction.

Run by deconstruction company TROW Group, P.O.P Up Maketi 834 will see pop-up stalls and food trucks dotted around the pub. Local companies will be offered temporary free space to exhibit their businesses as well as sell goods and services at the market. P.O.P stands for people over profit.

Among the key highlights are karaoke, a DJ and live entertainment. Children will keep entertained with a bouncy castle, face painting and giant lawn games before relaxing on bean bags. People can pose for one last picture with the tavern inside a big custom-made Instagram photo frame with a hashtag.

The building was permanently closed in May after an inspection report identified potential health and safety risks. Allan Pollard, CEO of The Trusts, says the safety of staff and patrons has been the most important consideration in the decision to close the tavern. “The tavern had very loyal patrons and we know this news will be disappointing for them, but we cannot and will not compromise the safety of our staff or the public,” Mr Pollard said.

Concerns identified in the report include cladding and possible structural problems with the roof, evidence of dampness (including signs of rot and mould) in the building’s structure and interior, and the need to replace electrical mains.