AFTER serving 25 years as the manager of Invercargill’s Northern Tavern, Edgar Potter is about ready for his turn on the other side of the bar.
The 61-year-old Southlander has worked for the ILT, which owns the pub, for close to 40 years, being on the management side of things for the past 32 years.
He came on-board as the new manager for the Northern when it was an entertainment venue/nightclub, soon converting it into a pub reflecting his love of sport.
“When I started there, we were open until 3 o’clock in the morning, it was certainly a vibrant place.
“I can remember eight security working on some nights.”
Mr Potter remembered the football world cup about 18 years ago being one of his many highlights, opening early in the morning and catering to a positive crowd throughout a huge day.
Sporting events, especially world cup and rugby events, generally stood out the most, he said.
“When our own Southland Women’s softball team won two nationals, we always had a huge celebration back at the pub afterwards. Events like that have been really good, and when local teams won local competitions. It’s always a great environment and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
The Northern Tavern has been an iconic watering hole in Windsor for decades, changing with the times and ticking away throughout the years with a steady foundation of local customers.
“You change with the times and you make allowances to still maintain success. That’s happened with the restaurant successful for us, whereas, in the old days, food was barely a part of the operation.”
He said one of the first big changes to the pub was when they switched to a neighbourhood licence, which required the pub to shut at 1am.
“But now with Covid we wouldn’t be open until half past 11, most nights.”
The pub has had its fair share of devoted patrons throughout the years, who Mr Potter said came for the sociability.
“For them, it’s company. There’s still those people, particularly retired people, that come in and it’s just company. It’s not about the drinking, it’s just about sociability and being friends.
“One thing about the pub, it doesn’t matter what your profession is, you’re always the same in the pub and we look after everybody the same.”
One of the factors leading to his decision to step back was the challenge of working through the pandemic, which saw a variety of changes for the hospitality industry.
“I just noticed that I wasn’t enjoying it as much and I was probably getting grizzly, so that’s time to move on.”
While the changes had been demanding, the staff had been fantastic throughout, he said.
The thing he was looking forward to most about retirement was having his weekends back, though he would also be looking at taking up some part-time work and, after a brief time away, getting back to the pub.
“I’ll give them a bit of space for a little while but certainly they’ll still see me price increase isn’t too big.
“The people that have taken over are fantastic, the senior staff are absolutely tremendous and I wish them all the best. But it’s my time now.”