Gari Newsletter – Dec ’22

What’s been happening in 2022?

Shiv has confirmed that there will be a return to our brewery trips programme as of February! Thank you to all those who have expressed an interest in doing more of these – details will be finalised shortly and be posted in the pub. See ‘What’s on – regular’ and ‘What’s on – one-off’ events below for information on other upcoming stuff.
Here is a list of some of the work that’s been going on to get the place ship- shape and Bristol fashion ready for another year of activity (thanks to manager Shiv for doing most of this at the start of the month – nobody can say she doesn’t do justice to the job!): A special Thank you to Matt Bass and Matt Lush for all the help getting us ready for the new year.

2022: A year in the life of a community pub:

January saw us finally feel like we were returning more-or-less to normality after the bizarre interregnum of the Covid-19 pandemic that preoccupied us for most of the prior two years. At The Gari we decided to pick the best and reject the rest of the changes that had been necessitated; so out went the much-loathed bar screen, table service (probably still missed by some!), and all concept of social-distancing. But we retained the use of sanitiser in handy bottles around the pub, which I think are set to stay and keep hands if not always conversations clean! Entertainment kicked-off pretty soon into ’22 not only with the usual ‘Music Bingo’ and ‘Quiz’ fortnightly events, but with the first of three ‘Gari-oke’ nights, on the 29th. Perhaps many of those performances are now best forgotten, but it set the ball rolling on what was to be – in our excellent manager’s own words – “the year she wanted to have in 2020”.

February found as bringing ourselves back to the old routine even more, as the new till beta phase finally ended and cash was once more accepted over the bar! This month also saw us team-up with Bhunny’s our food partner on a year’s contract to provide a most-welcomed food offer at The Gari. The garden was far-off showing itself off at its best, but Sarah and the hard-grafting team were already making preparations for what would turn out to be a wonderful year for getting outside.

March saw Shiv bring back her highly successful brewery trip programme, which had worked so well in late 2021 and had taken a break over the busy
festive weeks. On the 12th many of us keen cask lovers sallied-forth for a day’s quaffage at the superb Surrey Hills local brewery at Dorking, and proved the template of ‘pub fry-up – coach to local brewery – lots of ale – back to pub’ was as popular as ever! Bhunny’s moved out of their van and into new purpose-built accommodation at the back of the pub. This month also yielded another significant step forward as on the 19th Shiv opened for the maiden ‘Forces Fry-Up’, an idea which she generously cooked up while other members of our team literally came in and cooked up the grub for current or ex-forces customers. Happily this has now joined our other regular events and is enjoyed by an ever-bigger audience every month. The 26th saw our first of several live music gigs – a much-missed feature of pub life over the pandemic – with ‘Ordinary Guise’ rocking us out.

April saw a further foray into brewery tripping, this time we were off to Signal in Croydon on the 23rd which went down well. Our first festival began on the 29th for three days across a long weekend. This was one of a record three fests hosted at the pub in a single year and literally set the bar(s) pretty high. Live entertainment continued to blossom with ‘3 Times 7’ appearing on the 30th in the garden, making this the first of many jolly open-air events at the pub across the year. Oh, and building-wise, the leaky gents’ toilets roof was finally fixed thanks to Daryl & Co!

May started with the remnants of our very successful spring beer fest, and ended as we were on the precipice of beginning our Platinum Jubilee celebrations recognising the first time any monarch in the UK had ever reigned for a full 70 years. The 15th saw us continuing with our ongoing charitable efforts, when we hosted ‘The World’s Biggest Quiz’ which raised plenty of funds for deserving causes. There was a wind of change in the air at Newsletter HQ as our visuals editor Guy came up with a series of eye- catching adverts to tell the community what was coming up at The G for May (I’d say that was far superior to a load of dry old text, but then I’d hate to do myself out of my own job! – Ed).June of course saw the wonderful programme of patriotic pageantry and entertaining events that was the Jubilee, which ran from the 2nd all the way to the 5th. It helped bring a more positive punctuation to a year that while good for some was proving to be unpredictably difficult for many more in the wider world, and was a truly memorable moment in our shared national history, made all the more poignant in retrospect given the Queen’s sad passing only three months later. We at The G were no exception and laid on various fun ‘n’ frolics’ to mark the momentous occasion; on the 3rd we had more live music (again from ‘3 Times 7’ – fast becoming our ‘house band’!); the 4th saw a genteel afternoon tea party, and on the 5th we eased towards the end of the celebration with sounds from ‘Taylor Made’. Back on more mundane but nevertheless important matters, our long-awaited new tarmac was laid on our frontage, providing a smoother and flatter surface on which to drink and be merry – an example how our ‘not for profit’ model sees the money we make get ploughed back into the business sooner or later. On the 25th the hill was alive with the sound of music yet- again as we staged the ‘Mill Street Blues’ courtesy of ‘Stormy T & The Bluesmen’. The 29th saw our inaugural ‘Members Mixer’ which opened the Friends of the Garibaldi up to locals to explain what we do, what needs doing, and how people can get involved if they wish. Also various awareness sessions for charitable services were held in the week of the 20th as part of ‘The Month of Community’.

July saw temperatures rise and sunshine hours rapidly increase as we dared to entertain the possibility that Summer ’22 might actually be rather good. It was perhaps a little too hot to handle for some, but we stayed cool calm and collected at the pub, as we hosted ‘The Big Fat Quiz’ in aid of Pub Aid and Shelter (thanks to Tabitha for running it), and on the 16th our by-now blooming garden was the backdrop for locals Gary & Lisa’s wedding, which we were proud to help with – such a memorable day for all attendees. Maintenance continued quietly behind the scenes as various locals stepped up to assist by creating new storage cupboards, repairing windows, erecting spanking-new signage to increase kerb appeal at the front, and of course the resurfacing of ‘the circle’ in the garden (both Matts, Phil, Steve and Daryl all pitched in with this much-needed work).

August saw the clement conditions continue apace, and we continued to make the most of the outside offerings. Alas Shiv’s third brewery excursion of the year didn’t quite go to plan as the intended venue suddenly ceased trading a mere five days before we were set to go! However, some quick thinking enabled a replacement plan to be implemented, and on the 13th the bus (kindly offered and driven by Paul from the Air Cadets) took us over to the charming Swan at West Peckham, where their brewed-on-site beers were much-enjoyed alongside cracking food on a delightful hot day by a village green. The 15th saw us augment our professional bar team, with the addition of Tracey who enjoyed herself so much as a customer she had to get behind t’other side of the bar too! Also long-serving barman Guy was promoted officially to Assistant Manager, proving there are still career prospects in hospitality! On the 27th the bank holiday weekend was marked by more charitable stuff – ‘Furnistore for Ukraine’ – which helped in the global raising of funds to assist the unfortunate victims caught up in the still-sadly-enduring campaign of aggression from Russia which marred 2022 for many. On a less sober note, the 17th was our fifth birthday as a community concern, which was duly marked in the time- honoured way, with so many faces old and new appearing on the night, and a round-up of our progress in this newsletter from 2016 to the present – even if we say so ourselves, it was a fine achievement only made possible by true teamwork and diligent dedication by those who really care about the pub and its future, and one which deserved celebrating properly. Here’s to the next five….
September was still warm as we’d seen virtually no rain since early June (big shout out to our garden-waterers – just some of the unsung heroes who keep the wheels turning behind the scenes!). However, tragedy struck on the 8th when news came through of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing aged 96. Irrespective of any differences in individuals’ views on monarchy, we marked her funeral respectfully on the 19th as we mourned in lockstep with the nation and witnessed the event on live TV. Truly end-of-era stuff and in a year where one felt history was being written so rapidly and so dramatically, it was yet-another unwelcome but memorable day. Happily the period of mourning didn’t dampen spirits too much and we were rocking again to the unique and talented sounds of ‘The Tony Patience Band’ on the 24th. We were back beer- festivalling too, with the Rotarian-organised but Gari-hosted outdoor ‘Redhill & Redstone Rotary Ale for Aid’ event kicking off for a long weekender on the 30th. Earlier on the 14th, Shiv hosted a special curry night to launch local brewer Crumbs’ new beer ‘Naan Laager’ designed to be enjoyed with Asian flavours and made from spare naan bread.
October began with us still working our way through the beers, although alas 13 simply weren’t enough to last and we were resorting to our own barrels as backstops before the event ended (just as well our faulty fifth handpump had finally become functional again the previous month – Ed). Ooh we are a thirsty lot aren’t we?! But the partnership worked well and served our joint two most important elements – offering fine cask beer choice and supporting local charity. We also made a return for the third and final time in ’22 to good old ‘Gari-oke’ on the 29th, this time with a Hallowe’en theme (reminded us that we really need to get someone in about that sound-proofing….).

November normally would see most pubs shutting up their outdoor spaces and battening-down the hatches for the forthcoming season of drab darkness, but oh no; not at The G! Instead, Shiv won us a competition run by Carling for an £8,000 package of gear to enable us to show all FIFA World Cup matches, which was duly set up in the circle at the bottom of the garden ready for the first game on the 21st! Ambitious perhaps, as sadly the mercury-busting temps and long sunny days had by then given way to some very wet and often chilly short ones. While not every event was attended in large numbers, punters were suitably spurred-on by Eng-er-land’s excellent performance in the tournament, which meant we had more matches in which we played, hence more people came, more booze was sold, and more money was made! Everyone’s ’appy. Staggeringly, we were also back on the beerage once again as Shiv’s latest festival baby was born on the 4th for a three-nighter, only a week after the main local CamRA festival in Merstham had finished. 14 well-kept autumnal ales from nearby and further afield graced our stillages and needless to say, it was another humdinger! Oh and our trusty musical partners ‘3 Times 7’ were back making merry on the 26th but in an acoustic set this time.

December kicked-off with us making the preparations for a ‘proper’ Christmas, not seen since the heady pre-pandemic days of 2019, with decs going up promptly on the 1st. A second ‘Members’ Mixer’ occurred on the 14th, while the weekend of the 17th brought much festive fun and seasonal shine as several local crafters came up to pitch their wares to punters at our garden-based Christmas market (yes, still using it even in mid-Dec!), which showcases the considerable hidden talent we have around us, and a special raffle and ‘Secret Santa’ event the next day. The predictable high jinx and bar-top dancing etc were seen once again on the 24th for our Xmas Eve party, with another similar showing only a week later at our New Year’s Eve event on the 31st, seeing out ’22 in some style (not always good style, but…. Ed).

We ended what was a momentous and memorable year on a high, as it became apparent in the last few months that our customer base was both wider and larger, with many people choosing to come along just for good beer ‘n’ cheer, not necessarily specifically the World Cup or Christmas. We must say one big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has and is continuing to support our endeavours; without customers there can be no viable pub, so don’t ever think it isn’t remembered and appreciated by all of us at the FOTG. Here’s to more of the same in 2023….

Regular fundraising activities:

EasyFundRaising – always think ‘Gari’ before clicking on a site to buy stuff online. Indeed, always keep the pub in your mind pretty constantly….
The Garibaldi Pub One Lottery – unlike other prices skyrocketing by the month, this one never increases – still £1 a ticket that just might yield £25,000!

‘Your Fund Surrey – Join The Local Conversation’ – aiding the finely-wrought dream of possibly purchasing our premises, lock, stock and all its many barrels!
Meat raffles – see below – helping to beautify our garden in more clement months.

What’s on – regular events:

Meat raffle – weekly at 5pm, from Sun 22 Jan – £1 a ticket as with our lottery, but buying by £5 strips is usually better….
Quiz night – fortnightly at 8pm, from Thu 19 Jan – Mrs Frost is waiting for you! Only seriously keen quizzers allowed for this bespoke brain-buster.
‘Music Bingo’ – fortnightly at 8pm, from Thu 26 Jan – Ms Ashley the magpie of music will be airing a collage of clips for punters to guess at and tick off on their £1 tickets (seems all our tickets are only a quid – such value!). This one gets ever- more popular with a wider audience, so pre-bookings for tables is available.
‘Forces Fry-up’ – monthly at 10am, from Sat 21 Jan – as in the field of human conflict, we don’t get downhearted, and we go again for 2023! The usual arrangement applies i.e. a darn-good feed courtesy of Shiv and the mess staff.

What’s on – one-off events:

‘Gari-oke’ – yes folks, it’s back with a vengeance from 8pm, Sat 28 Jan, this time with a 1980s theme (great – some of us won’t even need to change our usual clothes! – Ed).
‘Burns Night’ – another annual favourite that’s back for 2023, from 8pm, Wed 25 Jan, the Scottish bard’s birthday. The usual menu of haggis, neeps and tatties will be available, all addressed appropriately by our local Caledonian correspondent George Henderson. It’ll be “fair fa yir honest sonsie face”!

Brewery trip – location and date to be determined, but it’ll be in Feb, so ale enthusiasts please keep ’em peeled for more details as we move towards next month.

Our Crowdfunder is now live!