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ST ALBAN’S FIRST PUB ROOF GARDEN OPENS

4 November 2021

St Albans Mayor, Councillor Edgar Hill, joined the McGuiness family to celebrate the opening of  St Alban’s first pub roof garden at The White Swan on Upper Dagnall Street.  The new roof garden marks the family’s 10-year anniversary at this much-loved locals’ pub and the pub’s own 250-year anniversary.    

The White Swan has been closed for three and a half weeks while building work took place, a £75,000 joint investment by Heineken owned Star Pubs & Bars1 and the McGuinness family.  

The new roof garden has a dedicated bar and features timber decking, a mix of different seating options, barrel tables and wall lights as well as outdoor heaters and 10ft by 10ft parasols.  It provides a unique secluded space that can be hired out for Christmas parties and other private functions and will be a suntrap on warm and sunny days.  It can accommodate 36 seated or over 40 standing. 

John is St Alban’s longest serving landlord.  The first year he and his family took on the White Swan they won St Alban’s Festive Pub of the Year.  Most recently they were given an award by St Albans Council for their efforts keeping the festive spirit alive during the pandemic.  At Christmas they converted the pub into a lookalike grotto and Christmas shop attracting thousands.  Unable to open as usual, they sold takeaway food and drink including mulled wine alongside Christmas hampers, gifts, toys and jewellery. 

A real local’s pub, The White Swan’s regulars help raise money for local charities including most recently raising over a thousand pounds through a raffle for The OLLIE Foundation, which provides training on suicide awareness. 

The White Swan has also been a head sponsor of St Alban’s Centurions rugby league for the last five years. 

Today, the pub, is back up and running, playing live music and showing live sports coverage.  As for the run up to Christmas this year, the pub will be decorated grotto style and will be offering a personalised hamper service for people of all ages.  Hampers will range from sweets and toys for children to alcohol and jewellery for adults.  

John McGuinness says: “We fell in love with the pub’s history and its role at the heart of the community.    My son Andrew has played a major part in putting The White Swan on the map as a great place to enjoy listening to live music and watching sport. Its laid-back warm and welcoming atmosphere attracts people of all ages and backgrounds.” 

Oli Bishop, Star Pubs & Bars BDMS says: “We’re delighted to be helping John and Andrew to maximise their trading space at The White Swan.  They have already refurbished the interior and created outdoor seating on Upper Dagnall Street and to the side of the pub.  This latest investment gives them a little more room at this fantastic all-round great pub.  Congratulations to John and Andrew for their achievements over the last 10 years and wishing them many more happy years at The White Swan.”