Winnie’s pub in the Renton Main Street is up for auction

By Rory Murphy

The Central Bar in Main Street was the setting for some scenes in the 2016 version of Compton Mackenzie’s 1947 novel, starring Gregor Fisher and Eddie Izzard.

Central Bar is now up for grabs

A fixture in the centre of the village since the 1890s, the Central Bar has been a well-loved watering hole for many locals since then.

It was a bolt-hole for anglers and poachers who plied their trade on the River Leven which flowed past the pub’s front door.

But after the coronavirus pandemic devastated the hospitality industry, with most pubs completely closed – or open only on a very restricted basis – since last March, the bar is now being advertised for sale by auction as a “development opportunity”.

Although the property listing on describes it as “a two bedroom flat for sale”, the detailed description says the premises comprise “a non-trading public house on the ground floor fronting the main street and, on the upper level accessed from the rear, two one-bedroom flats with tenants in situ”.

The listing says the pub area “has planning permission pending” from West Dunbartonshire Council for conversion from commercial to residential use.

The listing adds: “The convenient location, along with the tourist demand for Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, would make this development suitable for long term rental as well as offering great potential as a holiday rental or serviced accommodation unit.

“In addition, the land to the rear of the property extends to approximately 200 square metres and, with easy access from the main street, this could be suitable for further development subject, of course, to the necessary planning consents.

Renton-born Alex Jackson, left, who was one of the Wembley Wizards who ran rings round England at Wembley celebrated afterwards with fans who travelled down from Scotland, some of them no doubt from the Central Bar in  his home village.

“Not only does the development offer strong end value potential, but what makes this unique is that there is income in excess of £10,000 p.a. being produced from the tenanted flats whilst the development is taking place on the lower level.”

On board were 28,000 cases of Dumbarton-distilled Ballantine’s whisky – plundered by many islanders at a time when whisky supplies were strictly rationed – as well as £3 million worth of Jamaican banknotes.

Scenes from the original film Whisky Galore include the SS Politician and actors James Robertson Justice and Gordon Jackson.

Mackenzie co-wrote the screenplay of the original 1949 comedy, which was produced by Ealing Studios and directed by Alexander Mackendrick, and which starred Basil Radford, Bruce Seton, Joan Greenwood and Gordon Jackson.

The 2016 version which was partly filmed in the Central Bar was directed by Gillies MacKinnon and as well as starring Fisher and Izzard, also featured Sean Biggerstaff and Naomi Battrick, though it was less well received by critics than the original.

Glasgow firm National Property Auctions is advertising a guide price for the property of £149,500.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: