By Ian McConnell

The licensees of a Motherwell pub have received an award to mark their 40th anniversary at the helm, having taken over the premises at a time when there were still spittoons on the bar and now serving cocktails.

The award from the pub’s owner, Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars operation, recognises the contribution the Ross family have made to Motherwell since taking over The Railway Tavern on Merry Street– known locally as ”The Tav” - in 1982.

The pub, which has seen heavy investment since being taken on by Pat Ross 40 years ago, employs 25 people.

Star Pubs & Bars said: “Eighty-year-old Pat Ross took the lease on The Railway Tavern when it was a struggling boozer. The smoky local had spittoons on the bar, served no food and was ‘men-only’, apart from a small ‘family department’ accessed by a side door and used by a few women and children.

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“Over the years, Pat and sons Peter, Stephen and Gary have transformed The Railway Tavern into a high-quality, family-friendly local and a much-loved Motherwell institution employing 25 staff. The family has invested continually to keep the pub at the top of its game.

It added: “As well as a comfortable interior, it boasts a stunning 90-seater all-weather garden complete with booths, heating and TVs; 20 screens for watching sports, and a menu of home-cooked traditional pub food served in generous portions. Homemade steak pie – prepared with meat from the local butcher – is a favourite, whilst on the drinks front, the pub is known for pouring a perfect pint of Guinness.”

Pat Ross still plays an active role in The Railway Tavern, putting in orders, organising change for the tills and, according to son Peter, “giving out advice and keeping us boys right”.

Star Pubs & Bars noted that Pat Ross was these days, however, “more often found on the other side of the bar, enjoying a chat and a pint with customers, while Peter, Stephen and Gary run the pub”.

It added: “Despite clocking up four decades, the Rosses have no intention of calling time, and the next generation of the family is already starting to help out at the pub.”

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Peter Ross said: “With all the restrictions and closures, the last couple of years have been the toughest we’ve had since 1982. We can’t thank local people enough for all the support they’ve given us –it helped see the pub through.

“We’ve met so many fantastic people at The Tav. It’s a great joy to serve the residents of Motherwell and be part of their lives. The pub has changed out of all recognition during our time – some of the old boy s from the 1980s wouldn’t believe what goes on here now, with customers drinking cocktails and paying via their watches and phones. Some things remain the same though - it’s still the customers that make The Tav what it is and give it such a brilliant atmosphere. And, although people’s habits and lifestyles in 2022 are completely different to 1982, the pandemic has shown that the pub is needed as much as ever as a meeting place for the community.”