Soft launch parties for Off The Cuff - OTC Bar - in Herne Hill

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by OTCbarSE24, May 5, 2014.

  1. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    Hi All - I've just had an opportunity to read the conversations going on about the proposed launch of our new venture in Herne Hill and just wanted to take this opportunity to clarify and personalise what the concept of our new venture is and hopefully absolve some of the negative response that has been posted.

    My name is Jennie. My business partner is Tony. We have spent the last 4 months building a bar/club/new venue that we truly hope will bring a new and exciting vibe to not just Herne Hill but all of South London. As long term members of the community, we saw a need for something special and unique and we looked long and hard to find the right place to build that pipe dream.

    What we found was the old timber yard next to the HH train station which had been unused for many years and - to us - looked like a diamond in the rough. We have built the place from absolute scratch and it has been a labour of love that involved many locals who are dear mates who donated their time and considerable skills to end up with something that we believe is a place that offers a fantastic venue for not just wine and cheese - in a non-poncy manner - but also a place to highlight local artists, musicians and general talent. We aren't a pub because we are not looking to take away business from The Florence or The Commercial (whom we spend plenty of time and money at ourselves!). We wanted to make something that people could enjoy and feel that they were a part of as we evolve.

    We had our soft opening this weekend and I have never seen such a positive response to a place. So please, before you judge us, come and meet us. We've put our heart and soul into this place, regardless of the financial investment. The reason it will be operating on a club premises license is so that we can offer far later license, we don't have residential issues so don't feel we will be bothering anyone (which was proven this weekend) and so that there are benefits to buying into the ethos of what we are creating. We want to have a dynamic, unique and continually changing venue that everyone is excited to be a part of. We aren't showing football - that's what the other pubs are for. We are offering an experience, a personal one - one where you can enjoy all the interesting produce and very special wines we are taking pride in stocking. The cheese we are purveying is being sourced locally, as are artisan breads and local bands and artists. We want to add to and become a positive and lovely part of the community - thats what all this hard work we've put in was for. The club license is not to be exclusive in an arrogant way, it's so that you - as a customer - know that we are making sure the vibe and the clientele are all in sync with one another and that the council know that we are looking out for the people who want to come and join us on this wonderful adventure.

    We will only be open Thurs-Mon until June but we pretty much live there at the moment. So please before you judge or make assumptions, come and meet us. See what we have to offer. Not one person has left us this weekend without a smile on their face and a sincere promise to come back because they know how passionate we are about what we are doing.

    We are Off The Cuff because we are dynamic, changing, and open to all your suggestions - but please come and see us to make an informed decision. And by the way -- I don't have a Porsche! My landlord does! My business partner has lived in HH for over a decade and loves it with all his heart, as do I. We are so thrilled with how we were received this weekend and we promise you that it will only become better and more interesting when you come and let us know what you think of all our hard work and the quality we are offering. We love Pullens, the Commerical and The Florence - we miss the Half Moon! But we are totally different...we are Off The Cuff and I think if you come and get to know us you'll understand why we've spent all our time, blood sweat and tears putting this place together for you all to enjoy as much as we do.

    Jennie...@OCTBarSE24 / FB: OTC Bar - Off The Cuff
     

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  2. gabi

    gabi Banned Banned

    Fair enough. You've probably put this in the wrong forum tho - there's one called Brixton Noticeboard for this kind of thing.

    I think you're also supposed to offer freebies if you want to advertise on here.
     
    pogofish likes this.
  3. Monkeygrinder's Organ

    Monkeygrinder's Organ Dodgy geezer swilling vapid lager

    You don't need to offer freebies now there's the noticeboard. This is in the wrong forum though.

    OTCbarSE24 - I'm sure you mean well but you understand that charging hundred quid membership fee is excluding a huge chunk of the community at a stroke, right?
     
    Badgers, Scutta, shygirl and 4 others like this.
  4. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    You seemed quite nice until I read this bit. Because it seems like a polite way of saying you want to restrict the clientele to your preconceived ideals. Which of course is your prerogative - but is also, by anyone's definition, snobbery.

    And then to see that membership is £100??? That's not even cultural elitism. There are lots of awfully nice, arty, middle class Herne Hill types who would fit in with the vibe and be in sync with the other clientele... But can't afford that. Unless by "in sync" you mean "large disposable income".

    As it happens, I'm probably your target market - and having no kids and a decent job, I could afford your membership. But I won't. Firstly because I don't pick my friends based on their income level, and wouldn't join anywhere that they didn't feel equally welcome... And secondly because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to make new friends among people who have paid £100 to de facto guarantee they won't have to share their evening with anyone "non-U".

    I'm sure you'll find plenty of people who do think like that. They probably send their children to the independent schools (or wish they could) and embrace the soaring house prices for the way they're doing to the whole area what you're choosing to do with your club: keeping out the "riff raff". But I'd be ashamed if anyone I knew saw me going into a place that had such a naked agenda.
     
  5. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    I'm sorry you feel that was as that was the exact opposite impression I was trying to make and it is a shame as you will miss out on one of the best most unique venues that has been created in a long while. There is nothing pretentious or 'income based' about our membership - which doesn't begin until June as it is. It is £10/month or £100/year - we're not Shoreditch House, we're not trying to be - we are trying to operate a business under the licensing rules that a club premises requires. Also, as a business owner having seen the venue across the street turn over hands at least 4 times in the last 7 years (Escape/Poet/216) it makes sense for us to try and protect everything we've put into the place by making sure our clientele buy into the ethos of what we are creating.

    As I said, I encourage you to come down and introduce yourself directly to us - you don't have to be a member, you won't have to be for a while and if we can't change your mind or further help you understand why we are using a club premises license to operate our business then fair play. But, as I said, I've never seen such a wicked response to a venue as I did this weekend and i think if you're a resident of Herne Hill you will be really proud of what we're doing and we'd love to meet you.

    Warmest regards, Jennie
     
    bubblesmcgrath and Greebo like this.
  6. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    Just to clarify - it's £10/month or £100/year - it has to do with the licensing we are operating under and ensuring that we are able to put on a much later affair and use our venue for more unique and interesting purposes. We are not a pub and we plan on making the £10/month (or £100/year) membership worth it's while, including discounts on furniture, wine tastings, free venue hire - there are loads of benefits listed under our website at www.otcbar.co.uk. We're not trying to exclude anyone, we're trying to operate a club license that requires us to have members and at what equates to £2/week, we don't feel we are pricing anyone out.

    Come down and have a chat with us! It will be worth your while, I promise.
     
  7. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    Which forum should it be in? Happy to repost!
     
  8. editor

    editor hiraethified

    *Thread moved to the Brixton forum as there's clearly a discussion to be had!
     
    Greebo likes this.
  9. editor

    editor hiraethified

    What is so special about this "ethos" that it requires customers to stump up £100/annum?
     
  10. Monkeygrinder's Organ

    Monkeygrinder's Organ Dodgy geezer swilling vapid lager

    Also, what's your thinking behind mentioning security so often on your materials? You're in Herne Hill not downtown Caracas.
     
  11. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    does licencing require that the membership is that high? I can see that making it a members' club allows you to do various things in terms of your licence - rather like a working men's club or students' union... but £10 a month or £100 a year is more than a nominal charge.

    Obviously - you have a right to create a business model however you choose, just as the local community have a right to hold an opinion on that. If it has to be £10/100 because otherwise you think you can't cover your overheads... that's one thing; if it has to be that high because that's the minimum thresshold set by licensing law, obviously that's another thing entirely. But you seem to be saying that it's just the private member thing that is important - not the price, and if so I'm wondering why it couldn't have been something like £5 a month and £25 a year...

    It's easy for me to say: I'm not the person taking a risk and setting up a business. And I reiterate it is your absolute right to charge whatever you think. You have to tread that balance beam between affordability/popularity on the one hand, and the USP you seem to be aiming for, of a certain 'type' of clientele. Your opening was popular and you seem very positive so it probably doesn't mater a jot what I or anyone else thinks. But I do love herne hill and I know an awful lot of people who like to go there of an evening and who will be put off by the stall you are setting out with regards to the level of exclusivity you are selecting: it may not be shoreditch house, but that's not the only level of selection-by-income possible, as you're clearly going to be demonstrating.
     
    Snapp, trabuquera, Miss-Shelf and 6 others like this.
  12. Nanker Phelge

    Nanker Phelge Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

    "we are making sure the vibe and the clientele are all in sync with one another"

    gawd blimey...
     
  13. SarfLondoner

    SarfLondoner KenDoddsDadsDogsDead.

    What time do you close on the weekends? And has lambeth stipulated that you must charge a certain amount to get in? What will be so unique about this venture as opposed to other similar bars?.
     
    Dexter Deadwood and Greebo like this.
  14. Nanker Phelge

    Nanker Phelge Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

    "we are making sure the vibe and the clientele are all in sync with one another"

    [​IMG]
     
    Marjan and Scutta like this.
  15. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    It has to do with operating under a club license that allows us to operate the venue without being restricted to a lot of licensing laws, particularly to do with regulated entertainment and live music and opening hours. The emphasis on security is that we have to comply with the license that requires us to have door men at all times in order to operate beyond regular licensing hours. At £10/month or £100/year we didn't feel that we were out pricing anyone in Herne Hill - I lived in Streatham for 6 years and then spent 2 years in Hoxton Square and was more than willing to pay £1200 a year to belong to Soho House but that's not what we are proposing - we are simply trying to co
    hey guys as I've said pop down meet us and decide for yourselves why we are offering something so different. I think I've explained all I can in this forum and I am more than happy to speak to you face to face because I know you'll see how special this place is. I can't do more than that :) if you don't want to come down then that's fine too. But I think you'd be remiss to make a judgement without actually seeing us in action and seeing what a fabulous place we've built by hand. All the best - Jennie
     
  16. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    All of our info and hours are available in our website at www.otcbar.co.uk
     
  17. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    Also we will have 5 live bands and singers on Thursday as well as featuring in the Herne hill film festival on the 28th.
     
    Greebo likes this.
  18. editor

    editor hiraethified

    To be honest, I couldn't afford to pay £100 to be a member of any bar, and I'm struggling to think of any good reason why I would consider such a hefty outlay.

    I suspect there'll be plenty of people in Herne Hill who think the same as me too.
     
  19. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    I won't judge until I know the discounted drinks prices that offset the membership prices.
     
  20. sleaterkinney

    sleaterkinney Well-Known Member

    I can understand the wine and cheese a bit, but what is with the furniture?, how is that part of the ethos?
     
  21. prunus

    prunus Mostly gone

    I'm probably also your potential clientele - I spend more than sensible amounts of money on wine, and indeed cheese, live in herne hill, interested in exhibitions, live music etc.

    But I am probably fatally put off by a membership fee - unless you can explain otherwise why it *has* to be that way (ie not eg a token £5 year, redeemable against drinks, if there's a legal requirement) - not coz I can't afford it, but because as someone above suggested I don't want to go to an 'exclusive' (as in excludes people) venue, especially in my own neighbourhood, where I'm probably friends with or have other relationships with the people you're excluding.

    Please change my mind, and also explain why your ethos requires literal buying in, because I'd love to have a quality wine and cheese place on my doorstep (please send flames to P.O. Box 666 ;))
     
  22. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    Honestly we have set our prices by how much it's cost us to put this place together. We don't feel it's an exorbitant pricing model and that's our pricing model. If you don't agree with it then that's absolutely your right not to be a part it. Otherwise during the month of may while the membership isn't required why don't you give us a go and then make a decision. We've lived in Herne hill a long time and love this place - we wouldn't do anything we felt would alienate the community. As I've said repeatedly come and meet us. Otherwise there's not much more I can say!! :) just a person trying to start a business and make the square even more awesome than it is. Everything new creates controversy and we understand that. #otcbar :)
     
  23. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    All of the furniture that is in our bar is also for sale. We are making a constantly dynamic and changing place. We've got some seriously cool pieces and my business partner is a magpie with a great eye!
     
  24. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I'm afraid that I think it is, so I won't be there, and I'd find it very hard to recommend to anyone, but good luck with it.
     
  25. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    You know there's council housing in Herne Hill - or do those people not count as 'anyone'?

    I know lots of people of different incomes living in HH. Even of those lucky enough to have salaried jobs, lots of them have children, and childcare costs leave them with very little disposable income. They might get to the end of the month and be able to go for a few drinks, and other months, might not. Others of them are in the arts: acting, music, writing... generally labour-of-love type jobs where they subsist on low incomes because they love what they do. Others still just don't happen to have highly paid jobs. But perhaps all those people don't count as 'anyone in Herne Hill'.
     
  26. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    tbf, i'm exactly the sort of person that would go out for a drink and come back with a bookshelf... it's quite an appealing idea to me: i'm not mad keen on pubs, and this does sound like something more interesting. But not if my mates don't feel equally welcome. I'm not a twat.
     
    Enviro, wtfftw and ddraig like this.
  27. OTCbarSE24

    OTCbarSE24 New Member

    I just want to add that it will be open to the public at all times except Friday and Saturday nights after 7. There are a host of benefits that are listed on the site as to why the charge is there and the benefits. I think it would be awesome to have anyone come and chat with us over the next month and really understand what we are putting together. That's the best I can do! Jennie
     
  28. editor

    editor hiraethified

    How does it work when "local bands and artists" play your venue on the weekend? Can anyone go and see them, or is it members only?
     
  29. sleaterkinney

    sleaterkinney Well-Known Member

    Not exorbitant 'upcycled' bits and pieces?.
     
  30. Badgers

    Badgers Mr Big Shrimp!

    So it is members ONLY from June? If someone turns up they have to become a member or can't come in for a drink?
     
    Dexter Deadwood likes this.

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