Updated: Jul 25
Our #SaveFromExtinction campaign is now live!
We have one mission: To raise oodles of cash and save The Crooked Crow Bar!!!
If we can just get through the bumpy trade that the summer is likely to bring (with people being busy with a huge backlog of holidays / events) and use that time to launch the projects that have been put on the back burner due to the pandemic (such as: midweek events, marketing campaign & our in-house escape room), then we should finally be clear of the damage covid caused to our business and hopefully we will be able to finally thrive!
But we need your help to do it!
Fundraising Dates For Your Diary:
Sunday 14th August 6pm: The Big Fat Quiz of the Crow
Sunday 21st August 4pm: The Crow Tournaments
Sunday 18th September 12pm: Crow Fest
Sunday 25th September 7pm: The Crooked Crow Bar Musical
More details for each of these fundraisers will be coming next week along with details of our regular scheduled events.
How you can help:
1. Spread the word! Share our social media posts. Tell your friends/family/post man about us! Leave us a good Google review. Share links to our fundraising campaign.
2. Fundraise! Whether you fancy a sponsored bike ride, egg & spoon race, or sitting in a bath full of baked beans, you can link your fundraising to our campaign.
3. Contribute (if you can) to our fundraiser.
4. Buy some merch. You'll be helping us raise money and spreading the word! All merch is available on our website.
5. Come and see us! Attend and support as many of our events and fundraisers as you can, or just pop in for a cheeky coffee, pie or a pint!
ABOUT OUR CAMPAIGN:
Well, it's been a tough old journey!
We left our previous existence, an old spit & sawdust, rock pub, back in November 2019 when our former landlords retired after a 35 year long lease. The brewery had decided they wanted the pub back, leaving us, the staff (all of us friends as well as music-loving patrons), a bit lost! Whilst our town has many fine drinking establishments, as we roamed the streets of Leighton Buzzard, we found nowhere 'music led', nowhere 'alternative', nowhere that felt like we truly belonged. Then it dawned on us (after way too many sherberts), if we wanted to find our new spiritual home, we would need to create it ourselves. To be honest, we're not sure that any of us back then, thought they would actually let us do it! But as business plans got drawn up, applications were approved and various permissions granted and before we knew it we were paintbrush in hand, stood in a former Blockbuster Video unit, preparing to launch Leighton Buzzard's first ever independent, events bar!
So there you have it, that's the story of The Crooked Crow Bar.
We launched on the 18th January 2020, with our awesome team, fantastic live music, brilliant events, a pool table and some church pews we had managed to swipe from our old gaff and (of course) a well stocked bar! The people of Leighton Buzzard were queuing to get in and we should have all lived happily ever after. But then... Covid-19. We closed our doors just 2 months after we had first opened them. A week later the whole country was in lockdown.
We won't burden you with all the details of our journey through the pandemic. We are all painfully aware of how rough those times were for absolutely everybody. Suffice to say, we closed when we had to lock down, we opened when we were allowed to open, we socially distanced, took daily LFT's, adhered to the curfews, the noise restrictions, served curries rather than scotch eggs, installed hand sanitising/signing in stations and table ordering apps, wore masks and read the ever-changing covid guidelines and obeyed them. Even though our capacity under covid restrictions was reduced by around 70%, we hosted live music every week we were allowed.
Trading at such a reduced capacity meant we were unable to make any money and sadly, as we had not been in business for a full year prior to the pandemic, we were unable to access a lot of financial support that was available for the industry.
So here we are...2022.
Thankfully the worst seems to have passed. The trading restrictions have lifted and the world, finally, feels like it is returning back to some sense of normality.
We are 2 years into our business and due to completely unforeseeable and unavoidable circumstances beyond our control, we have barely got off the ground! Whilst trade had been steadily improving, last month it started to be inconsistent. We have busy days / weeks, but also some that are quiet. As we head towards the school Summer Holidays and the world busies itself, catching up with 2 years worth of barbecue's, get-togethers, holidays, arena gigs, theatre trips & festivals etc, trade is unlikely to stabilise.
The projects, events and marketing that had to be put on the back burner due to the pandemic, has meant that we have been unable to maximise our weekly revenue, enabling us to not rely so heavily on the weekend trade for our survival. So we find ourselves in a precarious position. For every quiet week, every week we don't manage to hit our baseline, we start to accrue a debt. We now have absolutely no money in reserves and having had a few quiet periods over the last couple of months, we are starting to worry that perhaps our elation from our fledgling business surviving the pandemic was a little premature.
In order for us to survive, we urgently need cashflow, which is why we have launched this campaign. We need money to make it through the bumpy summer months trade, get us back into the black and be able to launch the projects (such as regular midweek events, a targeted marketing campaign and our in-house escape room) that will generate more income for now and the future.
At the moment we need to raise £5k to survive, realistically we will need closer to £10k to make it through the summer, finish all our projects and actually start to thrive. Raising the money will be a mammoth task and as well as launching this fundraiser, we have also planned various fundraising events to take place over the next 6 weeks (The Crooked Crow Musical, The Big Fat Quiz of The Crow, The Crow Tournaments, Crow Fest).
To have jumped so many hurdles it seems unthinkable to not finish the race when we can see the finish line in sight. We have fought so hard. We have had to adapt. We have had to endure. And despite it all, we still have hope, but we desperately need your help.
We have built an absolutely epic venue, which is now more than just a spiritual home for us and our team, it is a platform for awesome new music, access to live music for the community, a proper stage for weekend rock gods, a safe space for the weird and wonderful, a welcoming environment for the lonely, a dancefloor for the rhythmically challenged, a super cool, super friendly, super inclusive, super bloomin' brilliant, independent, events bar in little old Leighton Buzzard and we absolutely love it!!!
We know that times are hard at the moment for everyone, but if you are able to contribute, please: HELP US CROW-BE-ONES, YOU'RE OUR ONLY HOPE!
A quick something to address:
Some of our Crow Crew were concerned that people maybe confused about our events and ticketing policy. We completely appreciate that after 2 years of us having to change how we traded due to restrictions (at one point having tables and pre bookings only), why there might be some lingering confusion! So to clarify...
Generally speaking, we open as a bar during the day (3pm in the week, 12pm Sat/Sun) and it is free entry and no pre-booking is needed. The evening events, if ticketed, will have tickets available to buy on the door (unless the event has sold out).
TUE-FRI: 3pm-8pm bar (free entry)
TUE 8pm: Bar (free entry) *we host league pool on this night
WED 8pm: A mix of non-music events from the eco social, our murder mystery, quiz and comedy (ticketed). Check our website or Facebook for details or just pop down and see!
THUR 8pm: Jam Night, live bands (ticketed) and our Café Vibes sessions. Check our website or Facebook for details or just pop down and see!
FRI 8pm: Live music, (ticketed). Tickets are available on our website, however you are usually able to buy tickets on the door. We try and keep our Friday ticket prices as low as possible. It helps us to manage costs and staffing if people buy tickets in advance, plus it guarantees you entry if it is a band that you really want to come and see, however if you are just wanting a swift pint or two whilst waiting for your pizza or table in town, just tell whoever is on the door, as we might be able to squeeze you in!
SAT: We open from 12pm as a bar. We run our BYO Vinyl til 6pm and serve Pie & Mash til 4pm. At 9pm we have live music. Saturdays are free entry (all day/evening) and no pre-booking is needed.
SUN: We open 12-4pm and serve pie & mash, great beers, cocktails and locally roasted coffee. The last Sunday of the month DJs Double Deckers host our Northern Soul / Ska classic vinyl sessions. Sundays are free entry with no pre-booking.
If by trying to explain that, we have just left you more confused, just visit our websites homepage, it is all laid out on there and it is fairly straight forward (honest)! We only allow over 16s on the premises at all times (including the outdoor area). Dogs are welcome during the day/non events. The bottom line is that unless you are an arse/have already had way too much to drink, or unless we are full up or sold out, we rarely will turn people away, so if you are in the mood for a last minute bevvy, don't feel like you cannot pop up and see us!