A DRUNKEN chat between two mates has led to them converting an iconic Dunfermline pub into something special.

The Watering Hole, on New Row, shut in 2016 and it has since lain empty and desperate for new owners to step up and put their own stamp on the place.

Darren Fitzsimmons and Fraser Christie are now doing just that with their partners, Gillian O’Neill and Rachel Christie, respectively.

They have all been hard at work since acquiring the pub in October and soon, on May 1, they will open Haberdashery Bar for the first time.

The inside has had a complete overhaul and with a beer garden outside – capable of seating 50 people and boasting space for a 14-feet projector for sporting events in the summer – they believe the bar will fill a gap in the market and prove to be a feather in the town’s cap.

Speaking to the Press on Friday, Darren said: “It’s been an idea that we’ve had in the back of our minds for years now but it was a drunken chat and the idea of going ‘halfers’ on a pub that got it started.

“We had a look at the Watering Hole, an institution of Dunfermline. As soon as we walked in, we knew that there was potential for the idea that we had.

“We’re going for that speakeasy theme which Dunfermline doesn’t currently have, and a 1920’s haberdashery shop front will be a nod back to Dunfermline’s linen heritage.

“The entrance will be through the alleyway back to the main pub door; a secret bar hidden in plain sight.

“We’ve completely re-done everything inside of it. We’ve basically gone back to the bare bricks and started again. I think people will be amazed at what we’ve done to it.”

A post on the bar’s Facebook page last Wednesday evening whet the appetite for what is to come as they made the announcement that a new bar, which will have Heineken as its brewery, is coming to town.

“We’ve already been inundated with people requesting to book,” Darren said.

“We’re still teasing it out just now and don’t want to give too much away, so people will have to come and see for themselves.

“We’re excited after keeping it hidden – even from friends and family – for so long.

“It’s going to be fantastic. Fraser will be here full-time as the bar manager operating it but all four of us are going to be busy and part of this. We’ll be employing staff soon and it’s nice to be able to do that and be a part of the community.

“The way we see it is that Dunfermline needs something like this. We have a beer garden and great summer to look forward to once COVID is at the back of us, hopefully.

“We’ve got big sporting events coming up in the summer and we’re going to have a 14-foot projector in the garden. There’s so much versatility to this building.

“We have a fantastic building that we can utilise for so many things. We want to bring in local distilleries and high-quality gins and cocktails.

“Dunfermline has your great ‘old man’ pubs, your mid-range pubs and then there’s a jump up to your classical cocktails, there’s nothing really in between here. That’s why people jump on the train to Edinburgh.

“We’ve been wanting to open for a while but lockdown hit and that delayed us. That allowed us to really go to town on the place for the big opening in May.

“We want to bring something different to Dunfermline and away from the norm.”