Bartender of the Month

Margaret Downie of Barrhill Social Club, Twechar, near Kilsyth

There's a lot more to being a bar manageress than knowmg your lagers from your liqueurs. espeCIally If you are out of the busy Cliy centre and working In a small Village wrth Its own particular Identity and heritage. Astrong. fruendlyfugure behindthebarcan playan Importantcentral role attheheartofthelocal community.

Nobody knows iilIS better than Margaret DOWHIG. bar manageress of the Barrhill SOCIaI Club In Twechar. a tiny former mining Village halfway be- tween Kllsyth and Kirkmtnlloch. Margaret's family has strong connections not only Wlih the commu nlty.butalsownhtheclubltself hermotherheldthe position behind the taps before her.

"Tlnsusmorethanlustabarforthelocals.’shesays. "Because It’s a somal club. there are dances. partlesandotherfunctlonsgoungonthroughoutthe

year.Justlastweektherewasaglrlfromthewllage got married that I‘d known for a while. and the reception was held In the club. And. of course. there are the karaoke nights but I've not got a great Singing VOIce. so they won't get me up there.’

“It’s good to know that work can be enjoyable and entertaining in itself.‘

Despite the long hours Involved It‘s the kind of lOb that Margaret relishes; "There‘s a lot of banter. Joklng wnth the regulars and them Joklng With you. | don’tgooutand somallse much myself. son‘s good to know that work can be enjoyable and entertain Ing In Itself. And when new people drop by. well Twechar IS so small that you know right away If It's someone from elsewhere. so It's up to me to make them feel welcome here And I'm not shy"

According to Margaret. one of the most popular drinks wnth the regulars IS Black Heart Rum and blackcurrant cordial "There's plenty ask for Black Heart and Coke or Pepsi as well] she adds. “butl don't really find myself making up speCIal COCkiElIIS

were fairly ordinary folk here. In fact. no way dld lthlnk any of them would vote for me I'd seen the cards around the club. but I suppose I'd forgotten about them as I worked away}

So. although there haven't been any autograph hunters knocking on her door so far. maybe her new found fame w:l| find hundreds of people rush mg to Twechar

"I doubt It] she laughs. "They‘d probably get lost trying to find US.‘

Photograph: Douglas Roberson