Thank you for visiting our new website
Now, we realise the two previous incarnations of our webpage said: "Welcome to our new website" as well – and they were both up for more than 18 months – but imagination and originality is not our forte.
Anyway, if you're still reading this, then there's a very good chance you want to know more about the first micropub in Bristol, The Drapers Arms. If not – and you've just stumbled on this site by mistake whilst looking for drapes, drapers or even the arms of drapers – sorry – but stick with it and if you're ever in Bristol, then pop in.
What's going on?
We opened this micropub at 447 Gloucester Road in Bristol at the end of 2015. If you're passing, it's just by the bus stop opposite Pitt Road. If you're not passing, take our word for it. We sell real ale, straight from the cask, sourced from small independent producers, mostly locally based — and by that we mean Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and South Wales; wine, gin and soft drinks.
So what is a 'micropub'?
Well, what IS a micropub? Well, it's not microbrewery or a brewpub. There's no brewing or filling beer barrels done on the premises. Some consider it to be a completely different – and a welcome – change from the longstanding regular public-house most of us used to know and love; some others think it's just a fancy name for a small pub.
Why don't you call in and decide for yourself? The Micropub Association describes our type of outlet as
"a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks". That's as good a description of the type of place we were after.
Well, what's this micropub like?
The Drapers Arms is an independent freehouse – and we hope we're providing a relaxed and sociable atmosphere, in a one room venue with a capacity for about 40 customers, to enjoy a couple of beers and a bit of chat. Now – and we know this will disappoint some people – we don't actually sell lager, Guinness, beers with the word "smooth" in their name or any keg beers; ciders, cocktails or things like jagger bombs.
However, without a juke box, fruit machines, WiFi, television or mobile phones, we hope it will feel like you're just sitting in a good, old fashioned, traditional pub – and conversation with your friends and the other punters as the only form of entertainment. We do sell a few regular bar snacks but no hot food.
However, we do sell "Chicken & Chips" – that's a pickled egg in a bag of crisps.
Why's it called The Drapers Arms?
It was a drapers' shop for more than 80 years, so The Drapers Arms it is.
Don't get us started on where the apostrophe should be.
Someone said you've banned mobile phones?
Nonsense! How can you ban one of the greatest technological developments of the 20th Century? As they say "you can't un-ring the bell". However, what you can do is put that ringtone on silent — or better still, turn it off. If you really want to tweet, twitter, text or check in on 'social meedja' then we won't stop you — but if you start answering or making phone calls then expect to be asked to make a contribution to charity, fairly sharpish. If you're sitting in The Drapers Arms wearing headphones someone might assume you're lonely, a bit sad and you really want someone to come over and talk to you. Be prepared.
What are the opening times?
We're open from 5pm to 9.30pm Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 9.30pm Friday and Sunday. We're also open from Midday to 9:30pm on Saturdays. We're not a late house.
Are you enviro'mental and all that?
Well, we do try to be — a little bit. We don't feature lager or any keg beers that need Co2 gas. We specialise in locally produced, artisan real ales — over 95% of our beers come from within 30 miles, (that covers over 100 microbreweries in Bristol, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and South Wales). We try to always have at least one locally sourced Vegan and one Gluten Free beer on every day — and our gins and soft drinks are made in and around Bristol. We do sell organic wines; they actually come from Portugal in traditional sailing cargo ships. No fossil fuels are used, therefore making that a carbon neutral system of transport. We try to avoid using single-use plastic items, we recycle over 90% of our waste — and we want to be as environmentally friendly as we can. We haven't stopped washing the glasses (yet!)
We're not brilliant by any means — but we do try to be a little bit better, every day.
Is the place any good?
Ah, well, that's not up to us, that's up to you lot. We think any pub, club or bar is only as good as the atmosphere created by its customers; we'll provide very good beer, clean glasses and tables and chairs — and that's about it. We'll have between 5 and 10 beers on at any one time — aiming at have at least one new ale most days — and so far, we've managed to serve over 1,000 different beers from more than 100 breweries in our first four years; we're pleased with that. However, we can only rely on the punters of Bishopston, Horfield and further afield, who enjoy a decent pint in good company, to make The Drapers Arms the kind of place that other people will want to go to. So far, so good. We have won a couple of little awards and certificates, so somebody likes us.
If a winning and successful pub formula is something that could be created immediately from scratch then, rest assured, the big pubcos, breweries and venture capitalists in this industry would have patented it, packaged up and dropped it in anywhere and everywhere — and believe us, they're really trying.
Who's behind this setup?
Vince Crocker and Garvan Hickey. Vince is a born and bred Bishopston local and is the owner, chief brewer and head bottle washer of Ashley Down Brewery. Garvan's background is in sales and marketing, predominately in the Hospitality and Catering sector and he has lived and worked all around the UK and Ireland, although he first moved to Bristol more than 30 years ago. Both live locally, in St Andrews and Ashley Down.
What's the point of all this?
A very good question. Yes, there are loads of really good and interesting places to visit and socialise on the Gloucester Road — in fact, all over Bristol. If you've got this far and don't like what you've read — that's OK.
This place is not for everyone, of course, but we really just wanted to open a simple venue, near where we live, that we would both like to drink in; so we did.
We hope you like it too. Cheers!
Garvan & Vince
Copyright © 2020 Garvan Hickey & Vince Crocker. All rights reserved.