‘This pub saved my life’

It’s 3am in the morning, the Crofter’s Rights bar is humid from the night of dancing and drinking. A pair of giant Velvet lips adorn the entrance to the dance room and after the remnants of another good night is cleared away.

The Crofters is famous for the long wall behind the bar, lined with taps for various and ever-changing beers, cask-ales and ciders. A big selection to choose from, which often leaves customers looking perplexed.

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The Crofters by day. Photo: The Bristol Post

I sat down with Joe, the assistant manager, Casey, Hayley and Davina, who all work the bar there.

Hi, Joe I heard that the Crofters has been open for over two years, is that correct?

Joe: I think it’s bang on two years now.

What do you think about this place sets it aside from other pubs or hangouts?

Joe: Whoa! you got serious quickly, didn’t you? Um. I mean, I’d love to say it’s the beer, a lot of places specialise in that nowadays. So, were part of that which is great.

So, there’s a unifying factor, what do you think makes it different? Unique?

Joe: Crofters Rights is kind of a weird pub, in the sense that it’s not a pub really, because half the time it’s a club. There’s lots of Djs and live music here, we’re open pretty late, I mean Stokes Croft places are always open late but during the week this place is pretty chilled out.

Hayley: Yeah, it’s definitely a different place.

Davina: Every night is something new

The pub has an unbelievable selection of beers

The pub has an unbelievable selection of beers

On the subject of something different, what is the strangest thing you’ve seen on a regular night at work?

Hayley: The transvestite boots! (size 11, thigh high leather boots. Been tried on by a few men at the bar, including Joe)

Casey: The guy with the stick who was pretending to be blind while dancing with out a top on.

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Pullin’ pintz

Davina: There’s some cool fancy dress things where people do a lot of glitter and sparkle. I saw a tall, skinny guy with a very tiny lederhosen.

Joe: When you said you ‘saw’ you mean…you stared at?

What about Stokes Croft therefore, makes it such a great place to be situated?

Davina: The people.

Hayley: All the weird and wonderful people that come in.

Casey: Definitely the people.

Hayley: You never know who is going to walk through the door.

Joe: Stokes Croft is just in a really violent state of flux, where it could always go either way, it’s the spirit of Stokes really.

Casey: There’s a strong community feel in Stokes Croft, we kind of want to keep it trashy and always have a place to party.

This is a place that is appealing to younger people then?

Casey: It’s trendy.

Davina: Don’t forget the DJ nights.

Casey: If this place was in London, it would be full constantly, people would enjoy the fact it is industrial chic.

Anything you want to find, you could get here then?

Hayley: It’s accepting of all types of things

Joe: We don’t put up gates to entry for stuff happening here, we have fun live band nights.

Casey: I don’t think it is trying to be one thing. It’s allowing itself to be what we want to make it.

Joe: Welcome to a pub with a personality problem

Hayley: It’s not that this place doesn’t know what it is, it’s just that it’s really open to new ideas.

What do you guys personally enjoy about working at Crofters Rights?

Hayley: It’s f***ing laid back!

Joe: I mean, I’ve worked at fancy pubs, corporate cocktail bars and it is the fact that at this place, you can actually work as a person which is actually kind of amazing.

Hayley: You’re definitely appreciated, and they let you give input and hosts nights that you want to.

The Crofters by day

The team 

Joe: This place saved me. I left my previous job on a black Friday and I couldn’t do it anymore. And I got lucky. Dave, one of the guys who shaped this place, happened to like me and think I was a good replacement for him. Whilst he went off to Berlin to pursue his dreams. I started off at bar position and ended up as assistant manager…I was tricked.

Hayley: This place hires people who have outside interests. We don’t want to be pretentious beer sellers. We want people to come in and feel comfortable. You like what you like, come give us a try and see if you enjoy it.