Suds and Soda is a new watering hole that’s popped up in Derby, my brother and his friends frequent it and I called by one time and loved the set up. I messaged Josh and asked if I could call by ask some questions and have a nice fresh blog to lay down on my website. It’s run by Josh and Tom, Josh was in when I called by…here’s the highlights of our chat with some shots.

So tell me how Suds and Soda began…

“Me and tom both met as postmen at the royal mail, we use to drink at similar bars, he got really drunk one night and suggested we set up a bar one day. My response being, yeah maybe, I was working at that bar, I said yeah, ok alright mate and left it at that. I thought I wanted to set up bar, but a shop, a bottle shop! Bars are too difficult to get into…too much risk, money etc. I could set up a shop, a beer shop..well if it’s gonna be a beer shop might as well be a bar. I did wonder if this would work, so around year later I got back to Tom with this idea, a bottle shop, I don’t know if you’re interested…when we talked about setting up a bar..a year ago.”

 

“Are u interested? He said i’ve already quit and am doing it. I was like..what? Do u want a business partner? Lets chat, he replied along the lines of I think i need one, later on we worked out what we wanted to do

How did you come up with the name?

“We worked out the name in the first meeting, it was all rapid from there on and took us about a year to get open. We had a lot of things to set up the bar, quite a lot of research. Tom knew a lot more about this side of beer than I did. He had travelled around the country, worked out how to do things, where to get things from.”

How do you guys work together?

“That’s where the partnership works, he’d research the beer and I’d always be looking at buildings in derby and think that could be this or that could be that. This (the present location) use to be a sandwich shop, massive pillars ripped them out, ripped the place apart, we even built a new wall.

“One of the reasons it took so long was that we wanted this building but it had never had a license before, so we had to get the license, once that was sorted out we sorted the change of use, approached the landlord/boss who was selling to another landlord after that there was a third landlord involved, just a really long time of boring paper work, a year not actually doing anything but paper work.”

“We only had to do it once, and once it’s done it’s done, suddenly it’s like wow! We’re running a bar now, we’ve got to buy beer, sell beer, mop floors and do things we’d not done before. It has been a long time coming but we took a punt.”

 

Were u ever worried?

“when we got the paperwork through we were waiting three months for the change of use and we’d changed that and rang up the landlord that day and said it’s all good. The landlord went oh i’ve sold that building…when? This morning…then a month of a half of waiting, working out everything. We were ready now, we just wanted the key and wanted to open.”

What’s the best thing about running your own bar?

“For me it’s having the freedom, sounds crazy, surely u have no freedom people say, you’ve got to be here all the time, you work as hard as u can, we have a really good work ethic (him and Tom the other owner) who ever does the night shift does the following day shift so you have the following night shift off.”

Just u and Tom?

“We have cover and people who’ll help us out when we need it, I went to a wedding so we got cover on, but we keep it tight and I put that down to being a Yorkshire man”

How long have you guys been up and running?

“four months, we’re doing pretty well just by being savvy, i’ve been working in bars for 9 years and Toms worked for 16, we know what were doing, it’s more of the early bits with setting it all up, how do u get a license? How do u get an answer back from council? This is the easy bit, buying and selling beer, we make sure that where we can save money we do, and try and give the best customer value by keeping running cots low. It’s a small building so rents cheaper, little things like that help.

How does the location of the bar work for you?

“I think if you look at it, day and night, in the day it’s all Iron gate up to st peters street and during the night its wardwick to Friargate and Saddlegate, it really is like day and night, and night this street is just a whole different beast. Yeah we fell in love with this building. That window (they have a big window) is a big selling point, people watching is just awesome and they can see what’s going on, they can see we’re a beer shop.”

“We have most of the bottled beer on the shelves in the fridge, but if they wanted to take it home they can.” I then misheard josh talk about muppet night, sounded intriguing, I questioned him further with regards to what is a muppet night..to which he replied “No we lock them up at night”…obviously that makes more sense, although a muppet themed night could be an interesting idea. “Its good, people can say supermarkets are ruining it, why not have a bar that can work as a supermarket.”

What are the plans for the future?

“It’s going pretty well, ideally a year down line we’d like to open a second one, keep the same model, small, somewhere else, just try and find somewhere that doesn’t have this. Plenty of places that don’t have craft or interesting beer. Once one kegs gone it’s gone..22 days we had 30 different beers on tap.”

Tell me about the logo?

“Tom’s girlfriend did the logo (shows me his tshirt underneath his top with the logo on it..he also has a beanie hat with the logo on the wall) people want to invest in us, want us to do well. It’s like a nice emotional bond of what pubs use to be, less corporate. You can do things on your own back, get more respect, doing it all on your own, we put the taps in, little bit above and beyond so we could do what we want to do. The coolers were second hand, re conditioned. We picked a guy who fits it pretty cheap and does it all the time. Although a lot of money but nowhere near what a brewery would quote you, they quote 8k we got it for 2 and a half.”

“You’re not tied or locked in, totally free and free-er now than when we worked at the royal mail, you try getting a day off there you’ve got to book at least a month in advance, our mates would say we’re going to paris do u wanna come…4 months time? I needed to know 8 months ago where as now it’s easier. Im living to work not working to live.”

 

 

If you’ve yet to try the beers at Suds and Soda I recommend you get yourselves down immediately 🙂