Couper’s Bar, Main Street, Coatbridge, Sunnyside Bar, Sunnyside Road and The Old Toll Bar, Coatdyke.
Mr David Couper. Circa 1897.
David Couper was born in the beautiful village of Greenloaning, Perthshire. He was educated in Dundyvan Academy, thereafter finishing his education at Gartsherrie under Mr David Ross who became Dr Ross of Glasgow. About this time his father took over the business of Thomas Stephen, publican in Main Street, Coatbridge. His father refurnished the premises and renamed it to Couper’s Bar.
Mr Couper senior showed his son David all that is known about the wine and spirit trade and after passing through the elementary stages of the trade, he first became manager and in course of time the pub passed into his own hands after his father retired from the business.
Couper’s Bar was always a prosperous and model business and had changed so much by 1897 that it was almost beyond recognition after Mr Couper had maintained its traditional popularity and modernised and improved the bar in every way.
Through time and gaining friend in the trade he became a director in the local Trade Defence Association and was elected as a member of the Parliamentary and Financial Committee of the Scottish Executive.
What little leisure time he had was devoted to outdoor amusements and he maintained an active interest in all the local institutions, being connected, among others, with the bowling, angling, curling and tennis clubs; also the Coatbridge and District Burns Club.
Couper’s Bar in Main Street, Coatbridge was reputed to be the most commodious in town, and for style and equipment, there were few to excel it in the West of Scotland. In form it resembled the horse shoe, and while in case of emergency the gas fittings had been retained, it was fitted throughout with electric light. The counter fixtures, bar pumps, taps, hot water heater were of beautiful white metal and the Bruce beer system of air pressure was in operation which ensured the liquor being raised to the counter in sparkling condition and to supply the customers with cool beer.
While much labour and expense had been incurred in the perfect outfit and arrangement of the bar itself, sitting-room accommodation had not been overlooked. There was a tidy little office and private room, and two splendid rooms to the back, these rooms by a unique arrangement could be converted into one large room when occasion was required.
Mr Couper did not rest is reputation on mere external display, his stock of fine liquor was second to none, his various wines, spirits and other liquors held in stock were beyond question. His special vintage Brandy, ten year old was very popular. The whiskies in stock were matured and included the most famous distilleries, Couper’s own “Special” which had a rare flavour, mellow, and withal possessed of high stimulating qualities.
The cellar accommodation with its good lighting had a hydraulic hoist and every appliance necessary for perfect stock keeping, the immense stores of bottled beer and stout especially received marked attention. A bottle washing machine was used and Bruce’s turbular geizer, by which hot water may be obtained in a few moments.
Mr Couper’s other premises in Coatbridge was known as the Sunnyside Bar and was situated about midway between the Cross and Sunnyside Railway Station, on the North British Railway line. Like the pub above described it was fitted with a horse shoe bar, electric lighting and with the same regard to his customers; while the stock of liquor on draught and in bottles proved to be popular with the customers.
David Couper had another public house “The Old Toll Bar,” in Coatdyke, occupied the site where the toll house stood up till around 1885. When the new building was erected Mr Couper obtained the licence. This neat and commodious establishment was needless to say the same order and arrangement as the others. The rooms were richly upholstered with beautiful mirrors decorating the walls.
The red sandstone building at the Toll, Coatbridge. 2005.
Another view of the Toll Building. 2005.
Note the date , Toll Building, 1886.