Wickham Arms under new management

I've had an email from John, who says that the Wickham Arms, on Upper Brockley Road has new management, as from today.

The owner has apparently indicated that he's interested in hearing from locals what the future direction of the pub should be, but is yet to be convinced that Brockley has the right catchment area to generate a loyal customer base that would justify major investment in the pub.

With the necessary caveats about not wanting to lose the live music nights on Thursday nights, I think this is potentially great news. This would be my Wickham wishlist:

1. The most important change wouldn't cost a thing - just make sure the bar staff look a bit more happy to see people

2. Try and encourage more use of the front garden, facing out on to Upper Brockley Road - Brockley lacks a little pavement culture and this would be perfect spot to sit out on a sunny day, enjoying a pint, but for some reason, no-one ever seems to be out there

3. Modernise the decor a bit - doesn't need a massive overhaul - just make it look less tired. How about finding a way to get a bit more natural light in there during the day?

4. As John's already suggested - introduce a wider choice of beers and wines

5. Keep the music nights and maybe run a few more things like pub-quizzes to encourage a local clientele


Moira said...

They already have a pub quiz every Tuesday night. They could tart up the garden and install heaters and garden umbrellas as it's going to be a major attraction come the no smaoking ban.

Anonymous said...

The front of the Wickham Arms is lovely on a summers day, and does get busy. However, could do with being more child friendly, which would definitely encourage young families to sit out there. The back garden could host Sunday BBQ's, makes a change from usual pub grub and relatively cheap to do/easy to get right!?

Anonymous said...

have to admit Nick I've had a look around Brockley - as a Nunhead resident I'm looking for a change of scenery and you guys on this site make it all sound very exciting. Bit disappointed therefore to find that Brockley station bit is pretty run down. Yes there may be signs of development but nothing actually opening. Same goes for what I assume is the high st. Moonbow Jacks (sorry may be wrong name) is a nice looking place but the rest is pretty uninspired. So I would have to agree with the Wickham Arms landlord that it's not quite gastropub time yet a la East dulwich or blackheath.

Luke said...

Of course, Brockley is FAR from a Blackheath or Greenwich, I would contest that East Dulwich, as nice as it is, has some way to go before realising that sort of 'status'.

However, the socio-economic change of Brockley is plain to see and the demand for 'gastro' pubs is growing with each new sale of an overpriced, yet desirable flat/house.

The development of Brockers is ramping up and the trades that cement themselves in the next few years will, I believe, prosper in the long run.

Gentrification is a bad word but, like Clapham, Balham, Brixton and East Dulwich, it's only a matter of time before Brockley (along with others) will be added to the list...

Brockley Nick said...

I pretty much concur with Luke's analysis. Brockley's unlikely ever to become a "destination" like Greenwich or Blackheath village - it has to be compared to similar areas like Westcombe Park or Hither Green. I'd say it has a lot more offer to the casual visitor than either of those places.

The question is - is Brockley a nice place to live? I don't think we've shied away from discussing the less desirable aspects of Brockley, but a lot is happening at the moment which bodes well for quality of life here and there's already so much to celebrate.

Glad you enjoy the site and hopefully you'll give Brockley another try in a little while!

ElijahBailey said...

Don't turn into a gastro pub or anything poncy like that.

Make it feel welcoming.

Keep the ale well.

Keep it clean.

Jon said...

Re. the gentrification of Brockers, bring it on. I'm ready and eager to go to those gastropubs/cafes/delis. It is already a nice place to live, but it could be so much more with the right changes. Thankfully people like the BXAG are working hard to sort this out.

There is definitely an air of change about the area, but I do have to agree with what 'anonymous #2' said about nothing much happening soon - I am a bit disappointed as it seems many people don't want to embrace the opportunity to put this area on the map. Anyone been to Crystal Palace recently? - look how much that has changed in the last year!

Anyway, back on subject, I am (un)lucky enough to live near the Wickham Arms, on Upper Brockley Road. While I'd love to see happy families sitting outside having fun, when it gets to 11 and there is a crowd of drunkards shouting outside, I won't be too chuffed. I think this might be the reason why not many people sit out there at the moment - resident's complaints. I say concentrate on the back garden, which only backs on to an office building.

They need to do this:
* make it less smoky - this will happen naturally in June anyway! :)
* make the garden more accessible, so you don't have to push past a bunch of burly east-enders playing pool to get to it
* make it more open so you can see inside!
* be polite to punters :)

Anyone got an email address for the new management, so we can tell them directly?

Anonymous said...

The one thing that the Wickham Arms - my local - has been crying out for for *years* is a thorough, top-to-bottom, no-holds-barred, spring clean. I love it to bits, but its been filthy for ever. Take down those curtains, get them replaced with something brighter, or at least dry cleaned. Steam clean the upholstered furniture and the carpets (better yet, chuck the carpets and spruce up the wood floor). Throw out most of the tatty nick-nacks, and dust - *regularly* dust - the rest. Make more of the local history tip - keep the old photos and the old sporting trophies, but please, just chuck out the souvenir ashtrays displayed on the picture rails. And, for the love of god, refurb the toilets. A combination one-off professional help and a more, shall we say, systematic approach to the day to day cleaning will make a HUGE difference. Time it to coincide with the smoking ban, add a couple of interesting beers, and watch the local (aspiring) "gentry" swarm in..

Luke said...

I totally agree with the above Wickham Arms comment. I personally like the 'raw' feel to the WA, but it's got the potential to be so much nicer!

You don't get many huge pubs, slap bang in the middle of a community with a beer garden. Make the most of it, I say!

Anonymous said...

"make the garden more accessible, so you don't have to push past a bunch of burly east-enders playing pool to get to it"
Why are east-enders using a South East London pub as their local? Must be a bit of a trek over the river at closing... Don't mean to seem too "local pub for local people" but if you don't like the Wickham, drink somewhere else, like the Royal Albert?

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