For Kensington locals, Gerry O’Brien is up there with the likes of Al Murray, Bet Lynch, Moe Szyslak and Peggy Mitchell. The Irish landlord has been running the area’s world-famous, flower-festooned Churchill Arms pub for the past 32 years and has become a celebrity landlord in west London. So it’s with real sadness that we hear the pioneering pint puller is hanging up his landlord hat and heading back to Ireland for retirement.
The County Clare landlord made Fuller’s pub the Churchill Arms so renowned, thanks to the floral display that he created for the façade of this beautiful boozer. The bouquets that decorate the Kensington Church Street pub are so famous that the Churchill has been honoured at Chelsea Flower Show several times over the years. The pub even sees a festive reimagining, with Christmas trees and fairy lights as winter sets in.
O’Brien has also made sure that the pub is just as well decorated on the inside, with wartime memorabilia and bric-a-brac hanging from the rafters. During his time as landlord, Gerry also opened a Thai restaurant at the rear, claiming to be the first London boozer to dish up this now-ubiquitous pub grub.
Gerry told the Evening Standard that he will be handing over to his general manager James Keogh on Friday, with a send-off planned to take place on Thursday August 3. So here’s to you, Gerry. May your unique London pub traditions last for many more years to come at the Churchill.