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Genial Holloway publican is a scientist away from the bar

Publican Luis: ‘I love talking to new people – this is just a hobby for me’

14 July, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Landlord Luis Pizarro: ‘I’m excited to run a successful pub and hotel’

A SCIENTIST-turned-publican has turned around the fortunes of a Holloway bar simply because he “loves talking to people”.

Chilean Luis Pizarro, 39, who helps make hospital body scanners more adaptable for people with disabilities, has transformed the Castle Bar, in Camden Road, from an ordinary boozer to one with a multicoloured facade and an outdoor seating area.

But he said he wasn’t even interested in changing the bar when he started improvements two years ago as he had his eyes on B&B rooms upstairs and a restaurant at the rear.

“I started coming here years ago,” he said. ‘I was meeting friends here and now when I’m here more friends come. It’s a nice spot for meeting people.” While his 10 rooms above the pub are always booked, the seafood restaurant proved less popular.

“People gave us good reviews but I think the location away from any tube station meant not enough people were coming,” he said. “But we’re going to move the restaurant and now I’m excited to run a successful pub and hotel.

“I love talking to new people – this is just a hobby for me.”

Mr Pizarro works part-time in hospitals but spends most of his time overseeing the pub, where the bar will be extended into the former restaurant next month.

He said: “We need more space as the pub is so popular. We’re going to have space for around 250 people.”

The bar specialises in Chilean cocktails in a nod to Mr Pizarro’s country of birth, which he left to pursue postdoctoral work in medical computing at Imperial College London, in South Kensington. He never returned to Chile.

A favourite cocktail with customers is the Terramoto, a sweet mix of wine, rum, grenadine and lemon sorbet. In the bar, football matches featuring the Chilean national team are popular.

The pub hosts a party tomorrow (Saturday) to mark the opening of a new outdoor area.

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