Legendary Horseshoe Manager Dave Smith dies


Dave Smith, who was Manager of Glasgow’s Horseshoe Bar from 1983 until his retirement in 2003, has died at the age of 71.

Dave, who was a real character, increased the turnover of The Horseshoe by eight, after taking over. Taking it from a mere £5K a week to £40K a week! He received many accolades over the years, not least being Famous Grouse Manager of the Year, regional Innkeeper of the Year and won the Sunday Mail Pub of the Year accolade in 2001. He was Chairman of the British Institute of Innkeeping in Scotland for two years, and during his time at The Horseshoe raised loads of cash for charity. He also received a DRAM Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the industry.

Dave’s claim to fame was when he let the then unknown pop group Travis use the upstairs practice room. The boys had worked in the bar, and years later they give him their first gold disc and their double platinum disc too. He also supported many Glasgow karaoke singers such as Garry Mullen who achieved fame on Stars in their Eyes as Freddie Mercury. He also once played mine host to the legendary Oliver Reid, and too many others to mention.

He was the man who put pie and beans/pies on the menu at The Horseshoe, and it was one of the most popular dishes of all. In fact The Horseshoe’s pie and beans was legendary too, just like its manager.

After retiring he came back to the pub industry for a short while, but for the last few years he has been enjoying his retirement and cruising the high seas. In fact he was only one cruise away from 100.

As Manager of The Horseshoe his first question to prospective employees was ‘Do you like to smile?” Before saying, “Folk don’t go to the pub to see a greetin’ face.” Certainly you hardly saw him without a smile! He once told me that the pub industry had given him a “good life.” He had no complaints.

In my mind Dave was a real gentleman. We enjoyed many a chat, and quite a few good Chinese meals too. I even spoke at his retiral bash and presented him with a bumper pack of toilet rolls … due to the fact that budget cuts at The Horseshoe had meant toilet roll rationing! It was often a subject of much indignation.

I’m hoping for Dave’s sake there is no shortage at the Pearly Gates. He will be missed, but I have lots of fond memories.

His funeral takes place at the Church of Scotland on Albert Drive / Shields Road on Friday the 30th of January at 11.00 am.

by Susan Young

Category: Editors' Picks, People
Tags: Bar Manager, BII, Dave Smith, Glasgow, Oliver Reid, The Horseshoe Bar, Travis