The Landlord of Edinburgh’s famous LGBTQ+ real ale pub, Alan Nicholls, has celebrated 20 years at the helm.
The Regent, with its comfortable sofas, quirky décor and relaxed ambience is one of Edinburgh’s most popular pubs, which has amassed a strong and loyal customer base over the years.
Offering an open door to the LGBTQ+ community, the award-winning pub was a breath of fresh air compared to what the scene of Edinburgh was offering 20 years ago.
Once an Astronomy undergraduate, Alan had no idea that at 40-years-old he would be taking on what is now an iconic pub on the outskirts of the Scottish capital, which many people both locally and afar desire to enjoy a pint in.
Looking back on the last two decades and from recessions and bank crashes to international wars and the Covid pandemic, there’s always been one thing in particular that kept Alan going.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have a fantastically dedicated and loyal team around me and I’ve never felt alone,” he said. “With the support from the team alongside my Operations Manager Chris and everyone at Punch, I’ve always felt like there was somebody holding my hand.
“I would have hated to be in this industry alone so even during the most challenging times, I’ve always had a shoulder to lean on. Business isn’t the same as when it first opened, things develop and they change but you have to be open to that. In this business you must be flexible, aware of what the trends are and how things are going.
“You couldn’t possibly please everybody and you can’t be all things to all people, but as long as you know that, I think anybody could be successful in this industry.”
Whilst there have been numerous stand-out moments for Alan in the last two decades, he says that he is most proud of being declared the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Edinburgh Pub of the Year 2008 – which was also a first for an LGBTQ+ venue in Scotland – and for becoming a Punch Publican of the Year Finalist in 2022.