The Cannon Bar

Owned and managed by Jane Howard

Thatís me, I have owned the Cannon Bar for 25 years. I arrived in Gibraltar just after the frontier between Gibraltar and Spain was reopened in 1985.

The Cannon Bar is situated right in the centre of Gibraltar, behind the Catholic Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned and Marks and Spencers.

Gibraltar has great weather and is a year round tourist attraction, so we are always busy. The world recession seems to have bypassed Gib, letís hope that this great situation keep on for another few years!

It is amazing how many post cards and Christmas cards we get from all over the world telling us how much they like the food and all of us.

I once received a card addressed "to the lady with spiky hair who speaks French, Gibraltar" Ė and that card reached me! Because I speak French we attract a lot of French tourists (steak frites comme a Paris is on my advertising board) and we figure in many French guide books. For several years we have been given a great write up in the Lonely Planet guide book as serving the best fish and chips in town. I find it fascinating to see write ups in Japanese, Korean, Russian, the only words I recognise are "Cannon Bar". And I love to see the tourists walking up the lane with a copy of Lonely Planet in their hands!.

I have seen many changes in Gibraltar over the last 25 years. When I first arrived the British Navy dominated the night life of the town, but in the early 90s the British forces were drastically cut back, this affected the whole of Gibraltar. We didn't realize how much we depended on the forces trade - every serviceman and woman had family, visiting friends, etc. doubling the actual service forces. However, the tourist trade rapidly filled the gap, and Gibraltar is definitely expanding financially, and in size. Large areas have been reclaimed from the sea and built on, and the number of cruise ships visiting Gib increases annually.

When people arrive in Gibraltar for the first time they are amazed at it's 'little Britain' aspect. Our policemen are dressed as traditional Bobbies, we have red post boxes and phone boxes, we have Marks and Spencers (even a food hall), British Home Stores, Top Shop, etc. Before the frontier reopened in 1985 Gibraltar was dependent on Morocco for fresh fruit and vegetables, meat was flown in from England.

One of my friends who was here when the frontier was closed remembers a notice outside a grocery shop: "fresh ham, tin opened this morning". Times have changed, we can now buy fresh meat, cheese, fish etc. either from the local market or from Morrissons.

The pub opens at 10.00 am until late. It seats 36 inside, and 48 outside. Usually in summer people are queuing for tables at 1.00 as of course everyone is in a hurry and the majority of our tourists are day trippers. This week a family came to eat with us who have been coming to Gib every summer for the last 17 years. Because last year we had run out of steak and ale pie on the day they were here they came in to reserve it and their favourite table before going up the Rock.