LEOMINSTER – Christopher’s Pub was absolutely packed on Sunday afternoon, a testament to the loyal following of the city center eatery celebrating its 40th anniversary.
The mood was festive throughout the anniversary party with food, DJ, raffle prizes and more. All the bar stools were occupied, mostly by regulars chatting happily to each other and greeting each other with warm hugs and smiles.
One of the most notable things about Christopher’s is not only that they’ve been in business for four decades, but that it’s owned by ex-in-laws.
David Corliss and Betty Lindsey have been business partners since the pub opened in September 1982, an unconventional arrangement that, to put it simply, just works.
“She loves me but doesn’t want to admit it,” Corliss joked of his ex-mother-in-law last May when they were finally able to reopen Christopher’s after 14 months of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As they prepared to open the pub, they had difficulty agreeing on a name for it. Three days before the papers were signed, Corliss’ son Christopher – Lindsey’s grandson – was born and the rest is history.
The owners beamed at the anniversary celebration, where old videos playing on one of the TVs included footage from a 1991 Halloween party with people walking past the camera in all sorts of creative costumes. Lindsey laughed as she saw her younger self on screen, and when asked how it felt to celebrate her long run of success, she said, “It’s beautiful, I never thought 40 years.”
“They are all wonderful people,” she said of her clients and employees.
Her daughter helped out at the party and longtime bartender Danielle Anderson served drinks to the lucky guests. Anderson has been a part of Christopher’s crew on and off for 18 years and said their bosses are “the best”.
“You and the customers are like family,” she said, adding that the Christopher’s crew threw her a baby shower in 2016 when she was pregnant with one of their two sons. She revealed that Lindsey took one look at her hairline and told her she was having a boy.
“She’s the best,” Anderson said, and Lindsey confirmed the mutual admiration by saying the bartender was the best too.
“I love her,” Lindsey said of the lifelong city dweller.
Mayor Dean Mazzarella and other City Hall crew members stopped by to congratulate them and presented Lindsey with a certificate of honor on the occasion.
“I can’t believe it’s been 40 years,” Mazzarella said of the longevity of the business after hugging Lindsey. “I used to come here to get one.”
A group of regulars came outside for a group photo with Lindsey, Mazzarella and others, and Lindsey remarked “that’s nice” after giving her the quote.
Lindsey shared that she’s the one who keeps the bar open bright and early at 8am and that Corliss takes the later shift, an arrangement that has worked well for her over the years.
“The daytime ones are older, the ones David has at night are younger,” she said of her patrons.
At 2:30pm the anniversary party really picked up speed as more people started coming in and the volume of conversation increased. Corliss walked in a moment later with two plates of sandwiches and greeted his brother.
“It’s amazing,” he said, scanning the room and taking in the whole scene with a big smile on his face. “It went by so quickly.”