BTW is celebrating its 30th anniversary

Brian Flynn and the gang at BTW
Brian Flynn and the gang at BTW

It also saw some not-so-major events like the launch of the ill-fated Sinclair C5 and the first broadcast of a certain programme called Eastenders.

Madonna was young and wild, Margaret Thatcher was in her prime, the year-long miners’ strike came to an end and Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms became the world’s first million selling compact disc.

Roger Moore made his last appearance as James Bond and Michael J Fox starred in his first Back to the Future film.

In October of that year, just a month after the SECC opened in Glasgow, Falkirk said hello to a new pub located in a former Playtex underwear factory in Melville Street.

Thirty years on and that pub has now become a local institution with an instantly recognisable three letter brand BTW – Behind the Wall.

Owner Brian Flynn said: “It started with the four of us, Chris, Viv, Jane and myself. We were going to call the place The Bra Factory, but we had these cops and robbers characters behind the bar and this brick wall we built, so the term behind the wall kept coming up.

“No one person came up with the name Behind the Wall, it just kind of stuck. We didn’t want to go down the route of a traditional pub name, we wanted to give it a unique identity right from the start.

“We liked the location and the potential of the building was there from the very beginning. It was just the front bar area at the time because we couldn’t afford to do anything else.

“We took a risk, putting all the spare cash we had into it, and it worked from day one.”

The bar rapidly gained popularity with a large and varied crowd of customers, including Brian’s former Falkirk High teacher Rab Williams.

Brian said: “Rab came in one day and he saw a woman come into the pub on her own and order a coffee – now that kind of thing didn’t happen back then. Rab said this place is going to do well, it’s just what Falkirk needs.”

The BTW we know today took shape gradually.

“When we had the money we opened other little bits,” said Brian. “It grew as the business grew. We added the Alehouse upstairs in the 1990s and the conservatory to give people more of a complete experience.

“You could come in for your morning coffee, afternoon tea and your evening cocktails. It was a lot of different things to a lot of different people and it was a safe environment – that’s the main principle we follow to this day, providing non-threatening surroundings and a warm welcome.

“A lot of businesses open trying to be one specific type of venue, but you can’t do that these days because there is so much competition. We used to say BTW was a chameleon because it was always changing.”

It has not always been plain sailing over the years, with economic issues and licensing changes making things difficult for some.

Brian said: “Thankfully the smoking ban didn’t really hurt us because we had our big beer garden. Then when the new drink driving regulations came in we started doing a lot more coffees, soft drinks and low alcohol beers.

“Things have been up and down with market forces and the recession and competition from other venues at various times. You take the hit and you come back.

“We are survivors at BTW, there’s no two ways about it. The staff and customers over the years have been incredibly loyal. Everyone on both sides of the bar has contributed to the success of BTW over the years and without them we couldn’t have reached our 30th year.”

Live music has also played its part in the BTW success story.

Brian said: “Music was important from the beginning and we had events like Jazz Sundays. Bands like Travis played here before they were big and we also had Ash play a gig here. Kevin Bridges did stand up here before he was famous.”

Music will take centre stage when BTW marks its 30th anniversary next week.

Taking advantage of the venue’s major milestone coinciding with Halloween, Brian has cooked up two amazing nights of live thrills. On Friday, October 30 from 6pm Tijuana Bibles, Dead Man Fall, Miracle Glass Company, Fly Jackson and Yossarian rock the upstairs stage and things get scary on Saturday, October 31, when The Rocky Horror Collective go insane upstairs, a Halloween Club Night shakes the back bar and an 80s disco goes retro in the front bar.