When Bar 33 @ The Old Mill opened its doors to the public on the 4th of April this year, it was not just a new restaurant in the neighborhood, but also a long-awaited dream fulfilled for Sandra Brennan. After a whole life in England, she was tired of the dull climate and longed for sunshine, warmth and beaches, but perhaps not least after change. Even though she was a regular traveller, she had never visited North Cyprus before. Good friends who had houses on the island had long tried to persuade her to visit, but for some reason she had always hesitated. When Sandra finally settled the matter and came for a visit, it was love at first sight.
“I loved North Cyprus right away and immediately realised that this was where I wanted to live. I never want to move back to England. Frankly, I already call myself a Cypriot!” says Sandra with a big smile. We are in the village of Ozanköy, inside the restaurant’s rugged stone walls, in premises where hundreds of years ago olive oil was pressed – hence the name; “The Old Mill”. Sandra seems to know all the guests at the bar by name, and when new visitors arrive through the door she immediately rises and gives them a welcome hug. It’s a warm and coay atmosphere where you feel at home from the very first moment.
However, the road from England did not go straight to Bar 33 @ The Old Mill. When Sandra moved here in 2015, it was with her son, who was then 13 years old. A brave step it may seem for a single mom from London. She started working behind the bar at Melli’s Bar in Karakum. That’s where she came to meet Eddie, a former British soldier who was vacationing on the island. There was an immediate spark, whereafter Eddie moved down to Cyprus and a year later it was time for a wedding! Together they hired themselves the restaurant The Corner House in Ozanköy, which they successfully operated for a year’s time. When the opportunity came to open their own place, they did not hesitate. Sandra already knew about The Old Mill and knew that the venue fitted perfectly for her and Eddie. They immediately started the renovation work, a job that took almost three months to complete. Most of the work they did themselves.
“We made many changes. This room where the bar is standing today was previously completely empty. In the room below, where the pool table is, there was an old bar with seating. All of this we tore out. Several of the walls were in need of repair so we did the job,” says Sandra, who previously worked as an interior designer in England.
Just a look around the room is enough to understand the work the couple has done with the renovation. Inside the white stone walls, bright wooden tables have been decorated and they have boasted the ambiance with turquoise ornamental cushions and ottoman candles in coloured glass. A few steps down you come to the activity room with pool table, dart board and comfortable sofas where you can watch matches live on the big screen. In the next room is a homely sofa waiting for someone to sit and if one feels like getting some fresh air there is a charming little patio at the back. The couple chose to keep the name of the restaurant, but it was also spiced up with something new.
“The restaurant has had several owners over the years and many are familiar with the name The Old Mill. Therefore, we chose to keep it but also add something new. “Bar 33” is dedicated to the memory of my father, who was my hero and my best friend. In the house where we lived during my birth he had his own bar where there was a sign with the text “Bar 33″, which was identical with the house number. I wanted to somehow honour my father who looks down on me from heaven today, and Eddie came up with the idea of extending the name to Bar 33 @ The Old Mill.”
Many of the regular guests who used to visit The Corner House have followed Sandra and Eddie to the new restaurant. They have even brought the chef and with him many popular dishes like Indian curry, gourmet burgers (try the giant megaburger!), vegetarian pots, corn dishes and hearty soups. The menu is constantly changing and there is always room for inspiration and wishes. There are also regular themed evenings, during the summer guests will be invited to both Jamaican and Chinese evenings. Wednesdays are cheese and wine nights and Sundays offer Sunday roast. On weekends, traditional English breakfast is served. In the bar there is a fine selection of wines, many beers and all the varieties of spirits you can wish for. At the moment there are four kinds of draft beer.
As the activity room is separated, they can always show sports on the big screen. Soon they will also open the roof terrass with a capacity of 70 people. Perfect for lovely summer evenings!
Since the opening in April, they have had fantastic response. On opening night, there were over a hundred guests who came and celebrated and two private parties have already been hosted. Now Sandra and Eddie are looking forward to a lovely summer together with their guests at Bar 33 @ The Old Mill – as well as to their new life together in North Cyprus!
Monday – Friday: 13.00 to late.
Saturday: 10.00 to late.
Sunday: 10:00 to 23:00.