Vic Long, the 80-year-old landlord of The Ship Inn at Redcliffe Bay in Portishead, Somerset, has become Britain’s longest-serving pub landlord. Vic opened the pub in November 1973 and has been running it for 50 years with no plans of retiring. Although he may not beat Mabel Mudge’s record of running the Drewe Arms for 75 years, Vic’s achievement is commendable.
To celebrate his milestone, Vic was joined by over 200 regulars, some of whom were there on opening night. The pub, which offers stunning views of the Bristol Channel, serves as a cozy spot for locals to gather, have a pint of well-kept ale, engage in friendly chats, and play bar billiards.
Vic shared an interesting anecdote from the opening night, noting that despite beer being only 11 pence per pint and free until 9pm, he made £70 between 9pm and 10:30 pm. This means that the locals consumed over 600 pints during that 90-minute period.
Over the years, Vic has witnessed changes in the pub trade and the preferences of his customers. He has seen cider trends shift, with Thatchers becoming the top choice after Blackthorn’s recipe change. Additionally, he mentioned the 2007 smoking ban, which had an impact on his business.
Vic, who is known for being Britain’s tallest publican and for banning mobile phones in his pub, credits his long-term success to hard work and perseverance. Despite his age, he continues to serve his patrons and maintain the pub’s cozy atmosphere.
The Ship Inn is not only known for its well-poured pints but also for its decor, featuring hundreds of pump clips and nautical objects. The menu has also evolved over the years, with prices increasing since 1975. Vic shared an old receipt, showcasing a meal including four prawn cocktails, three fillet steaks, plaice, and three coffees, all for just £8.75.
Vic’s dedication to his pub has not gone unnoticed, as he was recently awarded the Special Award for 2023 by the Bristol and District branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) in recognition of his 50 years as a licensee.
As Vic continues to serve his community, he plans to keep the pub thriving by providing excellent service, well-kept ales from local breweries like Otter and Doom Bar, and a welcoming atmosphere where locals can gather and enjoy themselves. Cheers to Vic Long, Britain’s longest-serving pub landlord!