Rita Smith, Liverpool's oldest landlady (c) Bebe Lynch-Platt
Rita Smith, Liverpool’s oldest landlady (c) Bebe Lynch-Platt

Local-loved Toxteth pub Peter Kavanagh’s now homes the oldest landlady in Liverpool.

Rita Smith, 85, took over the boozer in 1992, and hasn’t looked back since, winning a Lifetime Achievement Award just last year.

Having previous occupations as a cleaner and in the army, it is pulling pints in the pub she described as her ‘pot of gold’. It’s a role that has captured her heart- but what has kept her going all these years?

“That’s the million dollar question,” she laughed. “Although I look older, my brains not slowed down. I like working, it keeps me alive. A lot of people I know that retired early have now died. I don’t want that, I want to live forever.

“People say walking into the pub feels like a hug. It’s a place for people to come together- I know people who have met their husbands and wives here.”

The interior of the pub – which has a reputation as Liverpool’s most haunted – certainly reflects Rita’s captivating personality, decorated with antiques and trinkets from her own home that are rich in history, with her own gas mask from the war hanging above the bar.

The music in the pub stays at a low volume so people can talk to each other and socialise, something Rita feels strongly about – except on a Saturday, where live music takes place.

“On Saturday it was bouncing in here, it was boss. The music is for an older crowd- we’ve had Motown, Las Vegas, Irish bands- I like to join in with the raving. I’m not a drinker, but I am a dancer,” she added.

However, one thing Rita insists on is respect – respect her, her staff, the pub, and each other.

“I want all kind of people to come in here, just as long as they are respectful. If you’re rude to my staff, you’re disrespecting me and the pub as well and will be asked to leave.

“I’ve told people before they’ve dropped something outside and they’ll ask me ‘what?’, and I’ll tell them ‘their manners, go back outside, get them, then you can come back in’.

“I want people to be able to come in here and have a good time with no trouble, but I will tell people how it is. If someone is gossiping about someone else, I will tell them to go over and say it to their face.

“I don’t want gossips in my pub. I don’t care about being liked, I’ve got my friends and I’ve got my family, I don’t need to be liked by everyone.”

Rita’s strong beliefs and ‘household’ rules in the pub allow it to have a warm, community feel.

A one of a kind place, she told us how new pubs have took inspiration from the aesthetic and atmosphere, which she felt honoured about.

  • Peter Kavanagh’s is located on 2-6 Egerton St, Liverpool L8 7LY.

Featured image (c) Bebe Lynch-Platt




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.