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Future of historic Langford pub up in air as agreement with operator ends

Ma Miller’s Pub in Langford is not renewing an agreement with the current operator. Jessica Barry, who has operated the pub since 2016, confirmed Friday there was a “tenancy issue” with the landlord and her last day of operating the pub is Sunday.
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Ma Miller's Pub owners Marc Bedard and Jessica Barry in front of the Langford establishment on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Ma Miller’s Pub in Langford is not renewing an agreement with the current operator.

Jessica Barry, who has operated the pub since 2016, confirmed Friday there was a “tenancy issue” with the landlord and her last day of operating the pub is Sunday.

It isn’t immediately known if the pub will close for a time after that, or continue under a new operator.

“We just want to let people know to come by and have a pint and say hello,” Barry said in an interview.

She did not want to elaborate on any issues with the landlord, saying only that she “wanted to stay” and “there was a notice we had to be out.”

In a Facebook post, Barry thanked her customers.

“I am so sad to say goodbye to what has been an exceptional journey, but excited and optimistic for what lies ahead,” Barry said.

“We will all miss being here and being part of this neighbourhood and community.”

On the post, Barry declined to elaborate on reasons for closing, but promised “to update everyone soon.”

The pub has been a mainstay on the West Shore since 1864, originally as the Goldstream Inn. The building has been lost to fire twice since then — the current structure was built in the 1930s.

The pub got its name in 1923, when May Greening-Miller, known by patrons as Ma, took over the establishment.

The pub’s website says Miller was “progressive for her time in her endeavours to run such a business and to serve alcohol during a time of prohibition.”

The site said Ma’s efforts were met with opposition from the community, but she continued to operate the pub with her niece, Daisy Cairns, for many years.

Legend says Ma Miller’s ghost still haunts the pub after dark.

The pub has been a favourite for locals, hikers at nearby Goldstream Park and commuters on the Trans-Canada Highway.

The pandemic has hit many bars and restaurants especially hard, as safety regulations squeeze capacity and stay-at-home health orders cut daily customer visits.

Last fall, Logan’s Pub on Cook Street announced it was closing after nearly a quarter of a century, citing its inability to book bands and operate the business without incurring huge financial losses.

dkloster@timescolonist.com