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Cheers Family Celebrates 40th Anniversary Running Iconic Motherwell Pub

The licensees of an iconic Motherwell pub have received a prestigious award to mark their 40th anniversary at the helm. 


The award, from the pub’s owner Star Pubs & Bars, recognises the contribution the Ross family have made to Motherwell since taking over The Railway Tavern – or the The Tav as it's known locally on Merry Street in 1982. 


80-year-old Pat Ross took the lease on The Railway Tavern when it was a struggling boozer. The smoky local had spittoons on the bar, served no food and was ‘men-only’, apart from a small ‘family department’ accessed by a side door and used by a few women and children. 


Over the years, Pat and sons Peter, Stephen and Gary have transformed The Railway Tavern into a high quality family-friendly local and a much-loved Motherwell institution employing 25 staff. The family has invested continually to keep the pub at the top of its game. As well as a comfortable interior, it boasts a stunning 90-seater all-weather garden complete with booths, heating and TVs; 20 screens for watching sports, and a menu of home-cooked traditional pub food served in generous portions. Homemade steak pie – prepared with meat from the local butcher – is a favourite, whilst on the drinks front, the pub is known for pouring a perfect pint of Guinness.


The family’s dedication has won The Railway Tavern a faithful following of regulars of all ages and made it a hub of the community. It is equally popular with men and women, and the Rosses are now serving their third generation of some Motherwell families. Regular entertainment, quizzes and sports screenings plus outings and special days for senior citizens bring residents together. 


Pat still plays an active role in The Railway Tavern, putting in orders, organising change for the tills and, according to son Peter, “giving out advice and keeping us boys right”. These days, however, he is more often found on the other side of the bar, enjoying a chat and a pint with customers, while Peter, Stephen and Gary run the pub. Despite clocking up four decades, the Rosses have no intention of ‘calling time’, and the next generation of the family is already starting to help out at the pub. 


In recognition of Pat, the Rosses celebrated their ruby anniversary with a party at the pub. Regulars brought in pictures and videos of The Railway Tavern going back 40 years to add to the occasion. Says Peter: “With all the restrictions and closures, the last couple of years have been the toughest we’ve had since 1982. We can’t thank local people enough for all the support they’ve given us; it helped see the pub through.


 “We’ve met so many fantastic people at The Tav. It’s a great joy to serve the residents of Motherwell and be part of their lives. The pub has changed out of all recognition during our time some of the old boys from the 1980s wouldn’t believe what goes on here now, with customers drinking cocktails and paying via their watches and phones. Some things remain the same though: it’s still the customers that make The Tav what it is and give it such a brilliant atmosphere. And, although people’s habits and lifestyles in 2022 are completely different to 1982, the pandemic has shown that the pub is needed as much as ever as a meeting place for the community.”


Comments Tom Reilly, area manager for Star Pubs & Bars: “It’s a great honour to present the Ross family with this award. They are the archetypal great licensees and have made The Railway Tavern a warm, welcoming local as well as an asset to the town. Their customer service is exceptional they’re hands on, know everyone by name and what they like to drink and have a kind word for all. With all the changes that Motherwell has seen in the last 40 years, it is an outstanding achievement to have kept The Tav thriving and meeting residents’ needs. We wish them many more happy years behind the bar.”