A popular Blackpool cocktail bar owner is set to retire – and the bar itself is to close for good.
Billy Tankard, 66, has been running the Don Pepe cocktail and juice bar, on King Street, for 27 years.
During that time, the bar’s unique drinks have gained a near-legendary status, with names such as Boy Meets Girl and the racy One Night Stand.
Billy has become so synonymous with the friendly venue that some regulars even call him ‘Don’.
Inside the Don Pepe bar
But the Yorkshire-born businessman, who bought the then-struggling establishment back in 1994, will shut the doors for the last time on Sunday July 18.
It’s the end of the line for Don Pepe because a row of buildings on King Street is being demolished to make way for gleaming new offices as part oftown centre regeneration plans. The bar has been compulsorily purchased by the council.
Billy, who grew up in Castleford, said: “I’ll miss the social side the most. There are some people who come in just to see me, to have a chat and a couple of drinks and it will be hard to say goodbye to that.
“Some people who’ve been coming here for years do call me Don – and I don’t mind!”
Billy started out in the supermarket trade in Leeds and spent 11 years to Australia.
Back in England, a family trip to Blackpool led to him buying Don Pepe and he added: “I’ve made some great friends.”
For the next few weeks, Don Pepe is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 5pm until midnight.