'We have been running it how it should be' - Family celebrate 30 years behind the bar at Edinburgh pub

PROUD pub owners have been celebrating 30 years since running one of the Capital’s well-known drinking holes.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 3:29 pm
Jim and Jackie Colvine with their great friend Tracy who has been working at the pub for 30 years

Jim and Jackie Colvine took over the Iona Bar in Easter Road, Edinburgh in 1989.

Now, with three grown up daughters, the family have been celebrating the last 30 years spent working and playing hard in one of Easter Road’s last remaining pubs.

“I was just a young 26-year-old lass at the time with my little girls. Jade was four, Joy was two and Jill would have been about ten months,” said Jackie.

Iona Bar in Easter Road, Edinburgh

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“My husband Jim and I just went for it when the tenancy came up.

“It was £14,000 to take it up and my mother helped us with that.

“Then a bit later there was the opportunity to buy it so we just went for that too and it’s just been the best decision ever.”

Since running the business, Jackie has seen three pubs close down in the same street and many others changing hands.

Jim and Jackie Colvine behind the bar at Iona Bar in Easter Road

But, according to the 56 year-old, who now has four grandchildren, hard work, good staff, loyal customers and “running it how it should be” is the reason behind the pub staying open for so long.

“We haven’t changed it much in these years,” she continued.

“It was done up a bit a few years ago, but old customers didn’t like too much change, so we haven’t really made it look any different.”

Before taking over the Iona, Jim used to run the Duke of Wellington in Leith, “the roughest pub in the area,'' according to his wife.

“Moving to the Iona for Jim was like going to Butlins holiday park,” she said.

“It was calmer for him.”

Jackie said joining in the celebrations is her life-long friend Tracy, who has been working behind the bar since the family took over it.

“I have known her for 50 years, and when I took over the Iona she started working there.

“My Friday nights with her were working behind the bar together.”

Jackie’s late mother, Cathy Purves, worked behind the bar at the Iona until she was 75-years-old.

She died last year aged 88, but Jackie said she would have been so proud to see the 30 year celebration.

Eldest daughter Jade Colvine said the pub has been home to many special memories for the family.

“We used to have our birthday parties there,” she said.

“And when the Hibs won the Scottish Cup, well, that was a party.

“We had season tickets and whenever there were matches we used to help clear glasses.

“A lot of our childhood was spent in there.”

Jade met her husband, Peter Keenan at the Iona and the couple now have a one-year-old, Bella.

“A lot of friendships, couples and memories have formed in that pub over the years, and 30 years is a real achievement.”