The Wickham Arms, Upper Brockley Road

The Wickham Arms
69 Upper Brockley Road
Tel: 020 8692 8686

The Wickham Arms new Soul nights start tonight and to mark the occasion, we interviewed the Wickham team about their plans for the future. They involve music, wifi and hog roast. Enjoy.

How would you describe the Wickham Arms?

A rough diamond of a pub with lots of history and character. A friendly & jovial atmosphere awaits all customers; from builders to poets & students, you’ll find all sorts propping up the bar here.

What changes will you be making in the coming months?

We’ve already done up the ladies loos and the kitchen is in the process of being gutted in time for Summer. Many a BBQ & Hog Roast are on the cards – weather permitting. Hopefully we will have a good few months and be able to look at bigger upgrades in the Autumn like opening up the windows - i know a lot of patrons are keen to see that.Thanks to the help of my daughter we’re also starting to embrace the digital age, with the design of a new website underway. We even have a Facebook group now! We have such amazing live music here (Thurs, Sat & Sun) that it was imperative we found a platform to let people know what’s coming up.We’ll also be introducing free WIFI, teas & coffees & a new Wine List over the next few weeks in an attempt to broaden our reach.What mix of customers are you trying to achieve?Anyone who likes a good craic! We’re conscious that many local families, students & residents don’t even know we’re here, or that we offer such diverse live music nights. Hopefully with the advent of the new website and some more active promotion we can arouse people’s curiosity enough for them to come and check us out for themselves. Gone are the days of the dated Friday karaoke – instead we’ll be indulging in a bit of Northern Soul, Ska, Rare Groove, Disco, Motown and whatever else takes our fancy. In fact we’re launching our new night of ‘Brockley Soul’ this Friday 30th with a late license until 2am, so feel free to pop down if you’re in the area.

Do you think Brockley is changing and has that prompted these planned changes to the Wickham?

I do think that over the past few years more people seem to be investing in Brockley. I have noticed a refurbishment of both residential and commercial property, which is great for the community. The Wickham must change with the times too in order to encourage new customers. Times are tough in the pub game so we’re upping our game. We are conscious of not changing too much though, we will always be your local boozer as opposed to gastro pub!

Balancing the wishes of regulars with the need to attract new customers is always a tough challenge, how do you plan to get that right?

I’m sure that the regular customers would welcome new people to banter with, with open arms! There’s no pretences here, we simply enjoy good music, good company & good times (and the occasional late drink!)

In the summer, you fling the doors open, but the rest of the year, the windows make it hard for people to see inside, do you think that puts people off trying the pub out?

It has come to our attention that people may find this off putting, and that’s the last thing we want. As a result we are aiming to install clear glass, but as usual, such things prove quite costly so fingers crossed for a prosperous Summer.

How do you think the community and local business can work together to encourage more people to support their local pubs and bars?

Events like the Brockley Max festival, which we are heavily involved in, are great for bringing members of the community together. It’s a real highlight in our annual calendar. Community wise, we’re open to getting as involved as we can. The pub space and garden is always available to local groups should they wish to use it, and any aspiring artists/students are more than welcome to display their work in the pub. Talking of which we also offering students & teachers 10% off.

How important will music be to the life of the Wickham Arms?

It’s the heart and soul! It’s what we’re renowned for amongst our regulars – and with the help of a newly appointed promotions team, hopefully word will spread to a wider audience. Great bands, crossing a variety of genres, perform at the pub every week. The members of which are extremely modest. If we had our way we’d be shouting about their associations with the all time greats from the rooftops but you’ll have to come down and do some homework to find out exactly who i’m talking about.

Will you be taking part in this year's Brockley Max?

Of course! We love Brockley Max. It’s a great opportunity to showcase what we do best in terms of live entertainment, whilst engaging with members of the local community. Last year we everything from Morris dancers to bands jumping off furniture and attempting to crowd surf!

Are you a sport pub and what will you be doing for the World Cup this year?

We are a Sporty pub, and show anything people want to watch – mainly the horse racing and the football. If something’s on you want to see that hasn’t been advertised feel free to ask the barmaid to switch it on. We have a pool table too. We are very much looking forward to the World Cup. All games will be supported by a BBQ/Hog Roast where possible, along with drinks promotions etc. If the weather holds up we’ll endeavour to show it on the big screen in the garden.

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