Coping with success

Patrick: Yeah, can you take two tonight at, oh, let's say 9:00 ?
Maitre d: We're totally booked.
Patrick: Really ? That's great.
Maitre d: No, I said we are totally booked.
Patrick: Two at 9:00? Perfect.
- American Psycho


Maybe it’s only a pop-up, but the phenomenal popularity of #Meateasy in New Cross is the latest in a series of successful new businesses that have located in the area in the last couple of years.

When we first started writing the blog, the most common lament from local business owners was that only a clutch of familiar faces ever ventured out locally. That Brockley had a loyal customer base, but a very small one. Everyone else went out elsewhere in London or not at all – preferring to rattle around in their large homes that they’d occupied for years, without feeling the need to give the high street a go. That was their story and it was probably largely right. But with a few honorable exceptions, like Moonbows and Toads Mouth, there weren’t many ways for locals to show their support.

Four years on, there is a decent (though still narrow) choice and the biggest complaint heard about new businesses from readers of Brockley Central is that they are too busy. The Brockley Mess struggles to cope with the number of kids that comes through its doors, Jam Circus sometimes runs out of ale and #Meateasy queues can last for hours. While we’re sure every local business owner has the odd sleepless night about paying the bills, very few new venues that have opened since we started BC have closed. The customers do come.

We should be pleased that the biggest grumbles we have are related to overcrowding, because it means that more places will – eventually – follow.

67 comments:

Matt-Z said...

Jam Circus is much better now they have two ales on (after much pestering from some of us), as it runs out less often. Anyway you can always drink something else if they're out.

Brockley Mess suffers because they want a gallery at the back, rather than more covers, resulting in people often walking away as it's full up. Not how I'd do it, but it seems to work for them and they are often full.

It's great to see local businesses doing well in these austere times.

NXG_Resident said...

Attention Goldsmiths College management people!

Look at the success of #Meateasy and The London Particular and follow the lead of the owners of new businesses in NX (such as the upcoming New Cross House & Grizzly Bar) by getting to work on the stretch of shops you own on New Cross Road. Make your mind up on what it is that you want to open; whether it be gallery, shop, cafe or whatever, but do it as soon as possible.

Other businesses in the area are defying these austere times. Capitalise on the growing buzz around New Cross - the time is now!

Anonymous said...

Trouble is Matt-Z, if you just drink something else they are less likely to worry about running out.Talk with your feet and walk out.

Brockley Ben said...

I find myself going out locally a lot more than I used to. As it happens most of the places I go to regularly (Babur, Le Querce, Mangal and Mr Lawrence) have been here a while. Perhaps it's the knowledge of additional choices around that makes me head out more often; maybe it's just that other people are doing the same (all places are better when they're busier); or maybe I'm just deliberately making an effort.

Or maybe it's because when I first moved here I tried the Barge and the Maypole (RIP) and then lost my bottle.

Whatever the reason, it's great to see the places that we do have doing well. And also great to see the likes of Browns, The Talbot, The Orchard and - yes - #MEATEASY showing that newcomers can do well too. Here's hoping a few more will see the potential as well.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ben

I think it's all of the factors you mention.

More choice means you're more likely to think local first.

There are more young people living locally with money and the desire to go out.

It's easier to get here, thanks to the ELL, so more people can persuade their friends to come to them to go out.

And success breeds success. A popular venue like the Amersham attracts people who want somewhere to eat. A great local cafe like Browns or the Broce encourages people to hang around any maybe go to Degustation or The Orchard, etc.

Critical mass is what it's all about.

And of course, a lovely online community to share advice about local options helps too ;)

Monkeyboy said...

Im thinking of opening a bar for the BC curmudgeons. It'll be called Lou's. The cliental will be told to f**k off if they ask whether the crisps are fair trade.

There's a buck in every niche.

Danja said...

The Groucho Grill?

Brockley Nick said...

Meze Moangal?

Brockley Nick said...

Le Querce of modern life?

Danja said...

Serving pints in two pint glasses, so they are never more than half-full.

Brockley Nick said...

Disgustation?

Brockley Nick said...

No Smiles Cafe?

Brockley Nick said...

The Brocan Dream?

Danja said...

Frowns of Frockley

nburdy said...

the Broca Tool Market

nburdy said...

Damn! Circus

nburdy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nburdy said...

Mr Lawrence Whine Bar

nburdy said...

this could go on all day.

Brockley Nick said...

Boobur

Brockley Nick said...

Or Bah!bur

Paul said...

Cinna-moan

Anonymous said...

Cost-F***ers

Anonymous said...

Jerk Garden

Anonymous said...

Mr. Foolen's

Brockley Nick said...

Sounds Awful

Matt-Z said...

Crass Cuts

NXG_Resident said...

Brockley's Cross

Brockley Nick said...

Geddes Out of Here Salon

Headhunter said...

Dandelion Blue.... Oh wait...

Anonymous said...

Melancholy Mel's

Anonymous said...

Brockley Jack-Arses

mintness said...

The Bore-chard

mb said...

"Brockley, alight here for Overblown services to Dalston Junction"

mintness said...

Toad's Mouth Booooooooooooo!

Anonymous said...

Maze Mungal?

Anonymous said...

Mungey Business

welcome to 2011 said...

anon making mung puns - you've spectacularly missed the point!

Anonymous said...

Do-Mung-Nick's Pizza?

Danja said...

Target, missed, see.

Luther said...

Frowns Coffee Shop

Anonymous said...

Disgustation

drakefell debaser said...

The Whip 'em Arms

Mb said...

The Brockley Meh *shrugs*

drakefell debaser said...

Shitty Fried Chicken

Mb said...

I find the Miserablists tend to live in Telegroan Hill, part of the Consternation area.

thisisengland said...

Cool Git Street?

Anonymous said...

Telegraph Hill Snark

Tamsin said...

Thanks, raised a smile or two after an afternoon of going cross-eyed at spread-sheets.

RosieH said...

Taken out for posh lunch with the MD as a long service treat.

All my colleagues wanted to know about was the new Meateasy place they'd heard so much about.

Lou Baker said...

I am glad to be the source of your amusement - and I wish all your businesses good luck.

Unless they are social enterprises or have an art gallery
in the back.

Though I suspect most of you lefties are unlikely entrepreneurs.

Bakerloo said...

Dour & Miserable Van Hire.

max said...

Not a proper train.

Anonymous said...

Puke's Night Store

Anonymous said...

Yes, wonder how long the Mess will persevere with the whole gallery thing...seems odd business sense...there is one staff member who I've seen being really rude to people who want to park their buggies in the back...I go in the Mess quite often and have NEVER seen anyone go in just to look at the 'gallery,' while I've seen lots turn and go away as there isn't space...Perhaps they're not concerned about making money...Or perhaps they couldn't handle more covers...But surely it would make sense to court the obvious daytime market, the mothers, rather than being rude to them?

Monkeyboy said...

Sung to the theme of "Cheers"

Where nobody knows your name,

and they're always pissed you came.

You wanna be where you can whinge,

our troubles are all your fault

You wanna be where NOBODY knows

Your name.

Anonymous said...

I think some bright mumsnet type should open a cafe especially designed for the mother and baby and buggie market.

Anonymous said...

I love it! How about "Mungy Mummy"

Brockley Nick said...

As Danja says, "mung" jokes always miss the point. Mumsnet is the antithesis of the 'mung' brigade that you deride.

Transpontine said...

re. Brockley Mess, there's a question about whether the kitchen as it's currently set up could cope with many more tables. Sure they could squeeze some more in to the gallery space and make a bit more money, but potentially at the cost of a longer wait for diners. Maybe it's better to be turned away sometimes than to sit inside complaining about the delay in getting served.

Anonymous said...

Are we talking about the same Mumsnet? The one where talking about disposable (I.e. normal) nappies is frowned upon? That's VERY mung.

Brockley Nick said...

Oh you get mums of all sorts discussing the merits of washables v disposables. But Mumsnet is the new "Mondeo Man" - the demographic the politicians courting middle England fear. And if the Mung descriptor has any meaning at all, then it is surely meant to apply to left-wing hippy types - not the sort that David Cameron loses a lot of sleep over.

Tressilliana said...

'Mung' has no meaning at all except to indicate that the person using it sneers at people they think are 'mung'. In that sense, it's like calling something PC - all that seems to indicate is that the user thinks some policy has gone too far to limit individual freedoms, and that could be anything from freedom to call other people by insulting names to freedom to endanger people's lives by carrying on with everyday activities without bothering about whether they're safe or not.

Anonymous said...

It simply an example of beautifully accurate cockney rhyming slang.

Mung Bean = Green

Instead of moaning about how unfunny this, like all of the time, why don't Mungs come up with some equally catchy labels for their opponents.

Brockley Nick said...

I don't think any of the people saying how unfunny you are are "Greens". You're not our "opponents", you're just unfunny, and worse, completely miss your intended targets every time.

Anonymous said...

"In that sense, it's like calling something PC - all that seems to indicate is that the user thinks some policy has gone too far to limit individual freedoms, and that could be anything from freedom to call other people by insulting names to freedom to endanger people's lives by carrying on with everyday activities without bothering about whether they're safe or not."
T. Three simple points:

1)"Doh...Its called freedom of speech, and its especially important that we give it to bigots and fools, since if we deny it to them we will soon find limitations on it more generally imposed.

2)Every totalitarian regime that has ever existed has used public safety as their number one excuse to curtail freedom.

3)Not everyone has your vicar at a tea party (non) sense of humour.

welcome to 2011 said...

@Anonymous - which comedians do you really like?

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