Calder Street, Coatbridge..
In the News 1972…
Interior view of the lounge. 1972.
Yogi is mine host again…
What’s in a name? Nothing much I suppose, if it’s Joe Bloggs or Willie Smith… but it is a lot if it’s immediately identifiable. So what would have been more appropriate when footballer John Hughes, the former darling of the Celtic fans, decided to open a new pub in Coatbridge than to call it The Great Bear?
If the connection doesn’t mean anything to you it’s pretty obvious that you know absolutely nothing about football. John, of course, was affectionately known as Yogi Bear. In fact, his first pub in Coatbridge was called Yogi Bear, but it is now closed and big John felt that The Great Bear was more in keeping with the image.
The new premises in Calder Street are plush and comfortable and, would you believe it, the main theme in the bar is football. John, who now plays for Crystal Palace and is based in London, tells me he intends getting big blow-ups of football stars put up on the walls, along with pennants and several of the football jerseys that he has collected over the years.
One of the jerseys which he will have on display was worn by the controversial George Best. Another belongs to that Peter Pan of the football world, Jack Charlton. In the lounge the theme is again appropriately, the Great Bear constellation woven in Lurex silver and gold thread. It stands out brilliantly against the white background walls.
John because of his football commitments in the south, will not be able to be in his new premises as often as he would like, but he tells me he’ll certainly be serving up the drinks as often as possible. Incidentally, the measure in the bar is the quarter-gill for spirits. “I think the quarter-gill is coming back. This is what people want because I think it’s better value for money,” John told me.
“There will be entertainment in the lounge on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Resident compere will be a local man, Martin Kerr. “We hope to make it into a singalong spot where people can get up and do their own thing and generally enjoy themselves,” said John.
Even although Yogi Bear won’t always be there in person, his new place looks like being a top scorer.
Advert 1972. The Great Bear. The brightest night-spot on view, Calder Street, Coatbridge.
Two men helped John to build The Great Bear, and each have a 25 per cent interest in the business. The first as builder Mr Brian Aitken (34), a married man with three children, who conducts his business from his home address at 6 Forrestfields Crescent, Newton Mearns. The second is accountant, Mr Gerald McVey.
John first met Brian in 1969, when he asked him to complete his £25,000 luxury bungalow at Uddingston, Lanarkshire. “John told me at the time that his pub was being taken over under a redevelopment scheme and he talked about building another. “I met him a year later and asked how his new pub was getting on, and we started talking about it.
“Today John, Gerald, and myself are partners in the Great Bear.” Brian and Gerald will manage the Great Bear while I will be playing football at Crystal Palace.