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La Jollans, staff raise toast to Whaling Bar’s bartender on 50th anniversary

On Monday, friends and co-workers of Rey Arcibal gathered on the La Valencia Hotel patio for a private party to salute the man who been serving patrons at the famed Whaling Bar for 50 years.

His friends made him feel right at home on Monday at the party dubbed “Rey’s 50 years of happiness celebration.” Cocktails in hand, laughter in the air, guests mingled, talking about the man they’d come to pay homage to.

Asked whether Rey has changed over the years, retired stock broker Tom Creamer who’s know him half a century said, “Not a bit, not even a little.” Of his friend, Creamer added, “He’s always kind, always interested. Always a smile on his face.”

David Goodell ‘s known Rey 32 years and met him because his Rotary club meets weekly at La Valencia.

“I think the people from Cheers learned their whole plan through Rey,” he said. “He remembers everyone’s name, what you drink. He makes you feel comfortable.”

Forty-year Whaling Bar patron Ivan Bunster agreed that Arcibal has an incredible memory.

“He could write an oral history of the people that are here, the people who have died,” he said. “He could tell you a million anecdotes, like the one about actor Lee Marvin who was drunk here once.”