SUBMITTED PHOTO An undated archive photo of Patricia Gwynne sitting outside of the Scarlet Ibis Pub.

Final flight for the old Scarlet Ibis

“I am leaving the Ibis in very good hands. Please come and meet Kevin and see for yourselves.”

For over 45 years, Holberg’s Scarlet Ibis Pub has served food and drinks to locals and tourists alike, and its cuisine has given the establishment a widespread reputation for good food and hospitality.

The Scarlet Ibis was first opened by Art Jones. The Ibis combined influences from the homelands of Jones and his wife Ruby. Art, who was from the UK, conceived the Ibis as an English pub (fish and chips remains a signature dish). Jamaica, Ruby’s homeland, contributed the name of the pub, after a bird native to the region. After some years the pub was bought by the current owner, Patricia Gwynne, who has owned and operated the Scarlet Ibis for most of the last 40 years.

Many changes have come to the Scarlet Ibis over the years, but much has remained the same, including the finely carved doors and the scarlet carpet. The Ibis has become a pillar of the Holberg community, and an essential stopover spot for tourists visiting the North Island trails and beaches.

Unfortunately, Gwynne, who will be turning 71 next year, finds her position as owner, manager, head cook and sometimes waitress, to be an increasingly difficult task. She had recently put the pub up for sale, and although many had expressed interest in purchasing it, none had followed through.

At the very last minute, a wonderful man named Kevin Foley walked through those big heavy doors.

All it took was one visit and Foley knew the Ibis should be his, and Gwynne knew it too.

“It has been an honour serving all my friends and visitors over the years,” Gwynne said, “but I am leaving the Ibis in very good hands. Please come and meet Kevin and see for yourselves.”

– Aleister Gwynne article

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