This week one of our good friends, Stan O’Keefe, died. Stan and his wonderful wife, Lynne, ran Warners Hotel in the Square with their daughter Sarah and staff.
Stan was a classic publican. He forever was changing his bars and he had customers who had followed him from pub to pub. I remember one time being in a group where I realised that I was the only person in the group who had not been chucked out of Warners by Stan. I objected asking what had I done right.
Stan was a proud West Coaster, and Labour man until the end. At his wake this afternoon people told of him changing the face of the retailing of alcohol, from where he started in Westport. He was a man of very strong opinions which he was only too happy to share with you. Whether you wanted to hear them or not.
We had some amazing parties, celebrations and debates at Baillie’s bar at Warners. The Press reporters drank there as did many of us of a sinful disposition. It was a good old-fashioned bar where every one of us was a two-bit player in a play which had no beginning, and no end. That was until the earthquake finished the building off.
One day when the boss of the cops at the time, Jim Millar, and I were heading to Warners for a beer (at the end of a long, exhausting, conversation about Christchurch’s crooks) we drove my Austin 7 into the bar when invited to by Stan. The Press took this photo and I dedicate this to our old mate, Stan.
The sobering thing is I’m the only one left alive from this photo…