Gord Lenoard (above)

Gord Lenoard (above)

Squires Four Pub serves up 25 years

The same man who stood behind the bar serving up $1.25 glasses of beer at Squires Four Pub 25 years ago is still serving today.

Marking its 25th anniversary Wednesday, Gord Lenoard was a feature at the north Vernon neighbourhood pub celebration.

“People come in just to say hi to Gord,” said Squires’ owner Serry Massoud, who bought the pub in 2009.

On any given Saturday, 20 to 25 people pack the bar surrounding Lenoard’s work station to relax and chat about everything from the weather to women (and that’s just the bar, not including the rest of the dining area).

Just as Lenoard has kept his position at the old English-style pub, many of the same original customers continue to frequent the tavern.

“It’s all about fun. Obviously if you’re having fun you keep coming back,” said 52-year-old Lenoard, who figures he’s served more than 500,000 drinks in his time.

“That’s why I keep coming back.”

While many enjoy the barkeep’s company, humour and smiles, there a number of other factors that keep Squires’ parking lot packed – from food to staff and the relaxed old English atmosphere.

Even during tough economic times, including being slammed with more taxes through HST and stricter drinking and driving penalties, Squires has still done quite well.

“We have incredibly loyal customers,” said Massoud, who also gives credit to his team of staff members.

He can’t deny that time, along with new rules and tighter purse strings, have taken a small toll on business.

“The customer who used to drink three beers with a meal, now he drinks one beer,” said Massoud.

“And where they used to come three or four times a week, now they’re coming maybe two times a week.”

But the fact is, when customers are thirsty or hungry, they still come back to their neighbourhood pub.

Prices at the pub haven’t changed all that drastically in 25 years. Unlike vehicles, houses, gas and other costs which are four times as much, says Massoud, Squires prices are only a little more than double.

Customers who paid $4.95 for a Squires burger and $2.75 for a pint of beer 25 years ago, are now paying $10.95 for the same burger and $5.25 for a pint.

The Squires Four

Among those enjoying special 1986 pricing at the pub Wednesday were some of the four founding fathers.

The ‘Squires Four,’ Douglas Gee, Dick File, Jim MacGillivray and Rick Reichelt are the original owners who opened the neighbourhood pub doors 25 years ago.

File and MacGillivray, who still frequent their old tavern about twice a month, dropped in Wednesday to help mark the 25th anniversary.

“It’s still a very fine building,” said File, 77, of the building that despite some renovations, still carries its old English charm and detail.

MacGillivray adds: “The place has maintained its reputation as one of the best pubs in town.”

They also shared some history of the location and how the name Squires Four was born.

Before the building was erected, the land was home to Gee’s car lot. When the lot closed, Gee wasn’t sure what to do with the land.

“Somebody said it would be a hell of a spot for a neighbourhood pub,” Gee told the Vernon Daily News back in 1986.

Gee corralled the others into the business idea, but aside from Reichelt, they admittedly had little experience with pubs, at least running one.

“We had sat behind them and hadn’t sat in front of them,” laughed File.

To help educate themselves, the four men visited 70 neighbourhood pubs. They wanted something special, they didn’t just want to throw up four walls and sling beer.

Hence the idea for a relaxing atmosphere in an old English pub was born, with its distinct and high-quality building features.

Although they had a long list of names for the pub, the present name came off the cuff one day during a planning session.

“Jim and I arrived there and Jim said to me, ‘I wonder if the other two squires are going to be coming?’” said File.

And Squires Four was born.