A million pints: Barman celebrates 35 years at The Wych Elm
A crowd of Kingston locals gathered at The Wych Elm on 7 February to raise a glass to Barman Pete Simmonds, celebrating 35 years of service at the pub and pouring over a million pints in that time.
Present landlords Michael and Charlotte Pearson were joined by former landlords Manuel and Janet Turnes to present Pete with a certificate and gifts in recognition of his loyalty, commitment, and quality control. They were joined by special guests from CAMRA and Fuller's who also presented Pete with tokens of appreciation for his service.
The celebration also saw beer prices roll back to 1985 in Pete’s honour, costing 85p per pint for Fuller's ESB, London Pride and Seafarers, much to the delight of locals.
Michael, who took on the pub’s lease in 2014, said: “Pete has pulled about a million pints of beer in his 35 years. We’re so thankful to Pete – he’s loyal, committed and totally dedicated, and it’s an honour to be celebrating this milestone with him.”
Celebrating 35 years
Built in the 1880s, The Wych Elm became a Fuller’s pub in 1982 and Manuel and Janet became Fuller’s first tenants in Kingston. Pete was a regular customer at The Wych Elm before joining the team in 1985.
“I worked for British Aerospace and was a regular here. I got to know Manuel well and one day I was in on a Saturday morning and he told me he was short staffed and asked if I’d give him a hand. I said yes, and that was that,” Pete explained.
“I love everything about my job. It’s not just a job it’s a passion. I love the people, I love beer and I want to sell the best beer in town, and I do. We’re tucked away on a back street so we may not have the best location, but we have a cosy atmosphere, friendly welcome, great service, the best beer and top-notch food. I thank Michael, Charlotte, Manuel and Janet for making it what it is today.”
Commenting on reaching his 35-year milestone, Pete said: “There’s plenty more where that came from – I’m not going anywhere. I hope the next milestone will be 50 years!”
Fuller's Business Development Manager Samuel Walter and Pete Simmonds.
Loved by locals
Kingston locals and pub regulars, Mike Grant and Alan Balmer, have both been served by Pete for the past 30 years. They attended the event to celebrate the milestone of their favourite bartender and thank him for his service.
Mike said: “I’ve been drinking here for 30 years and he’s never served me a bad pint. If he’s not happy with a pint for whatever reason he’ll tip it out and change the barrel. He’s absolutely fantastic. Everyone in this pub knows that you will always get a fantastic pint here. This is the best beer in Kingston.”
Alan added: “It’s not just Pete’s expertise of the beer that makes him a great barman, it’s what he does for his customers. He’s very professional and good at his job, and he’s a great guy. He’s well loved by the locals, that’s for sure.”
Local love: Pub regular Mike Grant congratulates Pete for his 35 years.
The Wych Elm is located at 93 Elm Rd, Kingston upon Thames, KT2 6HT. For more information, call the pub on 0208 546 3271 or visit: www.thewychelmkingston.co.uk.