Every week we love to shine the spotlight on some of the best local venues that the borough has to offer, in our Pub of the Week feature.

This week, we’re taking a look at The Gilnow Arms – the Deane Road pub run by landlady Monique Mackay.

The 56-year-old is a lifelong Boltonian, having grown up in Darcy Lever, before moving to Bromley Cross.

How long have you been the landlady for? And how are you finding it?

“Eight weeks this week, it’s great, they’re lovely people. It’s just such a community-based pub, it’s been lovely.”

Give us some history about the pub

“My mother-in-law used to run the pub and sadly she passed away in 2014.

“We came in for 18 months and ran it, and then we moved on, and then I’ve just come back now. I just feel like I’ve come home, it’s lovely.

“They’re still the same people who come in, they’ve welcomed me back. They love playing the cards.”

Is food served?

“No, we don’t do food.”

Is there a beer garden?

“We don’t, no, we have a little smoking shelter at the back.”

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What is the most popular drink served?

 “John Smith’s. We have a lot of older people come in, daytime drinkers. In the evenings we have a lot of younger people come in for the acts, we have live entertainment on.

“In the evenings it’s probably still John Smith’s, as well as lagers, Madri, we have an assortment of cocktail pitchers and lots of cocktails on offer.”

What is the most memorable moment at the pub?

 “The most memorable moment has been waking up with a defibrillator being stolen, to be honest – but there’s lots of positives. We’ve had fundraising days here when people have passed away.

“We’re going to be having another one shortly to raise a headstone for a man who’s been coming in here for many years, we’re going to be doing a fundraising day for him.”

Do you have an entertainment line-up?

 “We do bingo on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, 2.30, everybody really loves that. We have a disco on Friday nights and karaoke on Saturday nights.

“Sunday afternoon they come in to play dominoes, cards, all the old card games. It’s like a traditional pub, like from back in the day really.

“At the end of every month we have a live artist, we’ve got Lady Gaga tribute Charlie Munro coming, she’s a Bolton girl. We’ve had Marlon who does like Bob Marley.”

The Bolton News: Monique is a regular at the pub's bingo nightsMonique is a regular at the pub's bingo nights (Image: Monique Mackay)

What are the biggest challenges within the industry and how can you overcome them?

 “The biggest challenge is the price increase, we are going to be having another price increase and I guess it’s making something special and nice that people want to come in to, it’s cheaper for people to stay in, isn’t it?

“We’ve got to always be thinking of what we can do to get them out, and that’s why we have Open the Box on Sunday, we have Play Your Cards Right – you know, things to keep people entertained, a little bit of something different.”

What is the best thing about running a pub and why?

“I think it’s being part of the community, and supporting people, being that nice place for people to come and sit and have a drink and a chat.

“I’ve known the regulars a long time, I’ve been here previously and they’re all happy I’ve come back, I’ve just enjoyed a trip to Benidorm with them, they’d already booked it so I gate-crashed – I had a lovely week away bonding with them all more!”

What is the worst thing about running a pub and why?

“I don’t think there is a worst thing. I’ve been a social worker for 33 years, and I took early retirement because I just wanted to do this full-time, I wanted to end my years doing something I really enjoyed.

“To me, there isn’t anything bad about it. I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the people, I love being here. There isn’t really anything bad I can think of, to be honest.”

What bonus things are offered at the pub?

 “On Thursday, when we do bingo, we pay for a £25 bar tab on the last game, so that’s free to them. On Open the Box on a Sunday, if they don’t open the box we give a £20 bar tab as the consolation prize.

“When we do our bingo, we have a bit of a silly game. Every game, if they win, if they call bingo, they win two packets of crisps – it’s just something daft.

“Throughout the Euros we’ve got a promotion on where you can win a £25 bar tab.”

If you have a story, I cover the whole borough of Bolton. Please get in touch at jack.fifield@newsquest.co.uk.