The 'Penny Bar'
A PEEBLES landlord is inviting customers to copper load of the new bar top that has left him penniless.
Owner of The Central Bar, Roddy MacKay has revamped the bar with 1,600 old pennies, some dating back to 1862. The historic copper creation has prompted customers into giving Roddy a penny and their thoughts.
He told us: “When we first shared the idea with our customers some donated their old pennies into the project. “It has brought back memories for some of our older clientele who can remember getting a penny for their pocket money – some of the lucky ones tell us they got three pennies.”
The inspiration behind the new bar top came to the Peebles publican after visiting a hotel that had one installed. And years later he decided to refurbish the bar area. Roddy told us: “The majority of the pennies were brought from a specialist website. They arrived extremely dirty and we spent a long time polishing them up to uncover the dates, kings and queens.”
And as Roddy and his staff turned each dirty copper into shiny pennies they discovered a few rare coins. “To our surprise there were a few special coins in the batch. One rare commemorative penny can be found from a voyage to South Africa, and we also managed to source one Queen Victoria penny from 1862 and one from 1863 online." Instead of a playing Gin Rummy or dominoes, customers are enjoying a game of spotting the rare coins and pointing them out to others.
Creating the penny bar is not as simple as people may think, so Roddy enlisted the help of local joiner John Schaedler. Roddy explained: “A lot was spent researching the best way to go about sealing the pennies. Many people suggested using Coke to clean the pennies but this doesn’t work anymore with the new recipe. We found vinegar, brasso and a strong hand was the best way to shine the pennies. “After this, John cut wood to fit the length of the bar. The pennies were stuck with glue and it was important that each one was straight, apart from one penny which John decided to turn upside down as a bit of a joke.”
The pennies were grouted and then a clear resin was poured on top and left to harden for 48 hours. “The customers really love the new addition to the bar and it’s really a huge talking point bringing back good memories. Our older customers have enjoyed sharing stories with our younger customers who haven’t seen old pennies before,” added Roddy.
We wondered after a tipple of two if patrons mistake the coins as their change before the penny drops that it’s the countertop. Roddy replied: “Some people have found it funny picking up their change from the bar!”
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