‘CHARLIES BAR TO BE KNOCKED DOWN “But | will build my own place” says Charlie Charlies Bar, tha mast famous restaurant in Cyprus and the meeting place of VIP's and pressmen from all over the world, Is closing down The bullding fs being demotishad at the and of the month, and Theodoras Le- monias, “Charlie” to the thousands ha has hosted, has to ‘move to another place to start business alresh. Lemonias, now 75, is bitter, “l was the one who brought tourism to Cyprus,: made the island known #2: samme | throughout the world, yet the government has done nothing to help me”. But Lemonias is not a man to stay bitter for long. Atter all, it's his big heart, his kindness and spontane- ous laughter that have made’ him so popular among the thousands of his customers. With a glass in one hand (it's been like-that for as from tomorrow night. yy VEBPOYAPIOy A caricature of Charlie regu- lars, dating back to pre-World War tl days. , ages it seems) he waves and gesticulates with the other as he clatters on: “I will build a place of my own this time. : “At first | planned to rent another old-fashioned house in the neighbour- hood where | could move, but things didn’t work out. So | must keep my promise and | am moving out this weekend. Saturday is go- ing to be the last night we will be open here. “Attar that, we will transfer all our things — the thousands of bottles, the tables, the chairs, stools and paintings--and store them somewhere, and | will start. making plans for a new Charlies Bar. | will build it the way | want, real Cypriot style. In some months--perhaps by next March--| will have my own place”. . Lemonias, bor in Cy- prus, went to Egypt at the age of 12 and worked as a “professional barman” at famous Cairo hotels until 1935 when he came back to the island. “They called me Char- lie at-the bar, and that’s how that name struck”. | opened 2 number of taverns-in Limassol and Famagusta. | opened the first Lemonias or Charlies Bar in Ledra Street. Then in 1949 | moved to Apollon Street (with Savopoulos) until the troubles of 1963- 64- Then | moved to this place. {t's been 15. whole ye- ars. | was the one who in- troduced meze to Cyprus. “Princes and Prime Ministers, Lords and U.N officials have patronised the place. Many of them keep sending me cards or brief letters, thanking me for the small presents ! of- fered them. “Once when | went to England, the man at the customs looked at my pas- sport, saw it was Charlies Bar, he tald me: “So you are Charlie,” and lat me through without checking my things. “| was friends with many Turkish Cypriots. Such personalities as Fuad Bey, Munir Bey and Dr Ku- chuk used to come here. The government may have broken off relations with the other side, | have not. | still keep alf my contacts, and | still exchange pres- ents with some of them. | tell you, if people had fun the way we have here at Charliés Bar, they would naver quarrel. Why should ene quarrel? if the U.N. came here and dis- cussed things, instead of New York, they would find solutions to all problems. “The secret of my suc- - cess? | like to have fun, and a good time. | offar drinks to my customers, | talk and drink with them, I laugh. As one said: When Charlie “Charlie” Lemonias [C) flanked by his equally aged but still agile DINING OUT a assistants, Michalis (L| and Avgoustls, his right-hand man, who has been with the eslabliament 25 years. laughs, he is heard all over Nicosia. “By the way, don't for- get, this Friday is going ta be the last Friday for the foreign press corps to meet here. Everyone is welcome. The drinks are on me.” Lemonias who can converse in Greek, English, French, Arabic and Italian, rt has three children, all mar- ried. He still likes to drink. He downed a couple of his favourite whiskey, then changed into different brands of wine. Won't that upset your stomach? “No, he says with a chuckle. “There are differ- ent tanks for each one”. a