Tom Gavaghan (above) of The Andover Arms tells Jo Reynolds what makes a pub great.
How long have you been one of the village people?
Since October the 11th, 2002. I started out running the Thatched House then took over the Andover Arms 6 years ago.
What brought you to the village?
I was working for Whitbread PLC and came to Hammersmith looking for a new site. Walking around these back streets, I fell in love with the village feel. It’s an oasis in the middle of the desert and I love its quirkiness.
What was the Andover like when you took over?
It was a 1980s themed pub with plastic seating and you couldn’t see the bar. The pub itself was built in the 1890s so it made sense to me to bring back the feel of that period.
What makes a pub great?
A publican who gives a damn. Keeping it simple and employing nice people is important too. It’s got to feel like your front room around the corner.
How many regulars do you have?
I’d say hundreds and hundreds call the Andover their local.
Do any of them cause any trouble?
No. But, I did ban someone’s dog for six months for being rowdy. Six months later, to the day, the dog came back and was good as gold.
How do you remember everyone’s names?
I visualize a funny image that reminds me of their name.
Do you know everyone’s surnames?
Absolutely no one’s. Except Conny.
Where are you from originally?
My family are from County Mayo in Ireland.
Have you always been a publican?
No. Before that, I spent many years living and travelling in Africa and Asia, playing my guitar and being young.
If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
First New Zealand to see my kids, then India because I love the spirit of the place.
Do you miss travelling?
Yes. Running a pub is a lifestyle, especially this pub. There’s no side entrance here. I’m exposed 24/7.
Do you resent that?
No. It’s a challenge, a responsibility I enjoy.
How do you relax?
I sing and play the guitar. Christy Moore’s my hero.
Do you ever sing for your customers?
Not really. I don’t want to drive them away.
If you weren’t a publican, what job would you do?
I’m really interested in hypnotherapy but, if I wasn’t here, I’d probably be a business doctor in the hospitality trade, advising people how to run and set up pubs and restaurants.
Who’s the most famous person you’ve had in the pub?
Piers Morgan. No, Johnny Rotten.
THE ANDOVER ARMS
020 8748 2155
57 Aldensley Road, Hammersmith London W6 0DL UK.