City centre pub opens new roof garden

The White Swan in St Albans has opened a new roof garden

The White Swan in St Albans has opened a new roof garden: (Left to right) Mayoress Caroline Lee, Mayor Edgar Hill, Andrew McGuinness, John McGuinness and Joanne McGuinness. - Credit: Matt Grayson

The first pub roof garden in St Albans has officially opened at a much-loved local as part of its 250th anniversary celebrations.

The White Swan is also marking another milestone:10 years of the McGuiness family running the Upper Dagnall Street boozer.

The White Swan was 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.

St Albans Mayor Cllr Edgar Hill joined the McGuiness family for the opening of the garden, which includes 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 can accommodate 36 seated or over 40 standing.

 St Albans' longest serving landlord, John McGuiness said: “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.”

They were recently recognised for their efforts keeping the festive spirit alive during the pandemic, after converting the pub into a grotto and Christmas shop, selling takeaway food and mulled wine alongside hampers, gifts, toys and jewellery.

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The White Swan’s regulars help raise money for local charities including recently raising over a thousand pounds for The OLLIE Foundation, which provides training on suicide awareness, and has been a head sponsor of St Albans Centurions rugby league for the last five years.

In the run-up to this Christmas, the pub will again 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.