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Obituary: Giant of pub trade Charlie Lavery, owner of famous Belfast hostelry


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The famous Laverys Bar in Belfast

The famous Laverys Bar in Belfast

The late Charlie Lavery

The late Charlie Lavery

The famous Laverys Bar in Belfast

The death has been announced of one of the best-known names in Northern Ireland's hospitality industry.

Charlie Lavery, who transformed a traditional family pub in Bradbury Place, Belfast, into one of the most recognised names in the pub trade died earlier this week.

Mr Lavery, who was in his early 80s, also owned the Pavilion bar on Belfast's Ormeau Road and was a member of a family that's played a substantial part in the life of the local bar trade for more than a century.

The Bradbury Place pub, believed to have begun trading as a coaching inn, was devastated by an arson attack in 1972, but was rebuilt in 1973.

Over the following decades it was transformed by Charlie Lavery into the vibrant leisure destination we know today, popular with students, locals and tourists.

Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster said Mr Lavery's passing would be felt widely throughout the hospitality industry.

Paying tribute to Mr Lavery last night, Mr Neill told the Belfast Telegraph: "He was the man who made Laverys Bar into an instantly recognisable destination for generations of people in the city.

"Anyone who visits Belfast has to visit Laverys, and if anyone mentions they've been to Laverys, you know exactly the kind of top quality pub experience they are talking about.

"Charlie Lavery is a great loss to the Northern Ireland hospitality sector and he will be sorely missed.

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time for them."

The cause of Mr Lavery's death has not been made public.

A family notice read: "We hope as a family everyone who knew Charlie has at least one happy memory, because we have many."

A tribute to Mr Lavery was also posted on the bar's Facebook page.

"It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we inform you that Charlie Lavery passed away suddenly on Monday, 30th March," it said.

"We hope that everyone who knew him has at least one happy memory, because we have many.

"He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.

"The family ask for privacy at this difficult time; no flowers please."

Patrons past and present of Laverys Bar took to social media to mourn his passing and share their memories.

"Remember Charlie from my days drinking in the back alley in the 80s. Always in his woolly jumper and a smile on his face," wrote Curtis Lockhart.

Artist Gail Ritchie said: "He was a kind and generous man who gave me my first commission out of art college.

"Condolences to the family."

Neighbouring pub and entertainment venue the Empire on Botanic Avenue wrote on its Twitter feed: "Charlie Lavery was a giant in the local bar scene.

"We've all got great memories of his pubs and he'll be sadly missed."

Belfast Telegraph