Paul dabbled in every role the hospitality industry has to offer before settling behind the stick – dish pig, silver service, sommelier (ok, wine waiter), line cook, actual waiter, stock control and more. Aged 20, after a chance encounter with Ged and a bottle of Jager, Paul joined Leelex and was tasked with bringing Oporto into the brave new world of late licenses. The aim was simple – great tunes, cold beer and closetothebone banter. Slowly, the bar at Oporto ate the restaurant, and 17 years later it’s still going strong. Paul always treated Oporto as his own, so when Ged invited him to become a shareholder, it was a nobrainer. A partnership was born, and so followed Jake’s Bar, Portobello Star, Neon Cactus, Portobello Road Gin and most recently Cielo Blanco, On school, Paul says he was there ‘more often than not’, a stint at art college ‘doesn’t really count’, and his birthplace of Wakefield is ‘not something we talk about much’. His experience includes JW Johnsons (Manchester’s first proper cocktail bar, sadly since closed), Teatro Members Club (a member’s bar with not many members), Bingley Arms (the oldest pub in England), and all the Leelex venues. It’s Oporto, though, that Paul describes as ‘still the single greatest bar I’ve ever worked in, untouchable for sheer, unadulterated, party times.’ His greatest achievement? ‘Paying my old man back his investment in me’ and apparently, Paul Lane is still 20 years old. Who knew?