The family behind a Llangollen wine bar, thought to be the oldest in Wales, are celebrating the venue’s 40th anniversary.
Gales Wine Bar, on Bridge Street, was first opened by proprietor Richard Gale in 1977.
Today, as well as the wine bar itself, Gales comprises a 16-bed hotel and a fine wine and gift shop.
It is a success story that began as one man’s dream and came about because of a joking remark, made over a glass of wine some 40 years ago.
Mr Gale said: “I was working in London at the time and one evening I was in the Eton Wine Bar in Windsor with a friend for the third time that week and he joked that it would be far more cost effective for me to open my own place.
“I knew Llangollen well, having travelled up to the area regularly with work and when I saw this building was for sale for about the same price as we’d paid for our two-bed flat in Windsor we decided to go for it.”
It was no easy undertaking at the beginning, turning what had once been an antiques shop into a wine bar.
“It was seven-days-a-week for a very long time, my wife Gillie and I never got out further than the hardware store or decorators merchants.”
Richard added: “We had a lot of friends who helped out and somehow we got there in the end.”
Richard and Gillie will be celebrating the milestone this week with their three children, Pip, Andrew and Holly.
Pip is now at the helm of the Wine Bar alongside his father.
As licensed excise dealers, the Gales import much of the wine they sell directly from vineyards in France, Spain, Porto and Italy.
The food they serve, however, relies as much as possible on the finest ingredients available locally.
It is a balance that seems to work very well.
Pip said: “To reach our 40th anniversary is quite something really.
“We’ve expanded and adapted over the years as tastes have changed but we’ve always tried to retain the welcoming, relaxed atmosphere and good food and wine that has been the basis of the business since my parents started it all those years ago.”
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