Life goes on at the George & Dragon
(CS) The George & Dragon has long become a household name among UK expats in Luxembourg. After almost 30 years at the pub, founder Richard Andrews is retiring this week, but “life goes on at the George,” he told wort.lu/en.
Richard first came to Luxembourg in 1977 when his then wife landed a job with the European institutions, only a few years after the UK joined the EEC. “When I got over here and was looking for places to go out, everything was a bit bland,” said Richard. “Luxembourg bars in those days weren't very exciting.”
Having run a pub and restaurant in Suffolk before coming to the Grand Duchy, the idea was born to start a traditional pub. “Talking to all kinds of nationalities, everyone liked the concept of an English pub. So, I decided to give it a go.”
Putting Saint George on the map
Together with a friend from the UK, Richard went in search of support for the pub. “Back in the day we just went to see Mousel and Bofferding. Mr Lentz Jr from Bofferding was very big into the idea of different bars. We got a lot of encouragement from him.”
In a newspaper, Richard and his associate found a listing for the property in Rue Albert Unden, and the George & Dragon opened its doors in 1984.
“George killed the dragon to save England. It's quite a name. Everyone knows Saint Patrick, but no-one knows Saint George, so we went with the idea to introduce people to another saint and put Saint George on the map.”
“I've done my fighting”
Despite the English name, the pub has attracted not just a British crowd over the years. “It's always been a pub for everyone,” said Richard. “You can't go to a country and say: I'm here to look after my own,” he added. “That's not the way it should be. We wanted the Luxembourgers in on this one. They live here. We wanted them to come and enjoy it, and they did.”
After 10 years, Richard's colleague decided to leave, “and I carried on on my own.” With many other bars coming and going over the years, the George & Dragon stayed put in Mühlenbach. “We've been lucky,” said Richard. “Everything seems to run along just nice and smoothly.”
But, Richard has found that “the industry has become a lot harder. Times have changed and everyone's fighting for a trade, and I think I've done my fighting.”
Leaving the pub in good hands
Looking back on the history of the pub, Richard said that “the highlight has always been the people. They create the ambiance and keep the place going for you. We've made a lot of good friends over the years.”
Having started working when still in his teens, Richard is now looking forward to retirement. “I have five children living here in Luxembourg. I became a grandfather this year. It'll be nice to have time for them and for myself, as well. I want to enjoy these years.”
Customers, however, need not fear any big changes at the pub. For the past five years Margarida Santiago has been running the pub, explained Richard, and she will continue to run the George & Dragon in the future, welcoming its mix of customers of all ages, all nationalities, regulars and newcomers.
And while Richard is giving up his place behind the bar, he might just “pop past for a pint from time to time.”
For more information visit georgeanddragon.lu