The Craufurd Arms
“Music is our religion; it’s what we do here.”
We have touring bands come through very regularly. We bring a lot of touring bands, from all over the country – from all over the world – into Milton Keynes.
And we have quite a few young, up-and-coming bands too. They’re making waves now, and they’ve been supporting a few artists, so it’s a way of getting their music out to a wide range of people, and help them further their careers.
It’s a lovely space out the back, 275 capacity – not too big and not too small. So when we do get big touring acts thorough, it’s a really nice intimate setting. But it’s also big enough for smaller up-and-coming bands to have a really nice show on a big stage with a great sound system.
In some ways music is our religion; it’s what we do here. We had this idea to make something kind of church-esque with the stained windows, which were done by a local artist, Luke MacDonald, who also did the big mural of Queen Eleanor in Stony Stratford. And then we got a Bristol artist who did the mural on the bar stage and the rest of the walls.
The place as a whole has a lot of character, a lot of soul. I think that’s purely because everyone cares about it so much. I think that shows.
The atmosphere here is always friendly. Open to everybody. We get a lot of comments about how friendly we are and how inclusive and diverse our staff and our customers are. We’re very, very diverse.
We have all sorts of people come down for all these different shows, and we also see a lot of the same faces come back again. And we have quite a lot of local regulars as well. It’s like a big melting pot of all sorts of cultures.
We cater for so many different things. We have street food events, with all the local street food vendors; we have a lot of families in for that. Up until 9 o’clock families are very welcome here.
We have record fairs as well – we have about 20 vendors now. We hold them in the venue and in the bar, so pretty much the entire pub is filled up with records, which is great.
Pub quiz every Thursday. Ours is very ‘us’, it’s not a normal quiz! It’s all digital – it’s a bit like a game show. Our open mic nights are mainly acoustic solo artists, but anyone is welcome to come and join in – from poetry to comedians to acoustic.
Customers always say how happy the bar staff look, which is rare in busy pubs. But that’s because they enjoy being here; they really care about the place and want it to succeed. They realise how important it is to have an alternative place that is different; it’s got it’s own unique thing about it, and they enjoy being part of it. I think it just comes across then, to customers and everyone else.
One of my favourite things is watching a room full of people enjoy themselves, having a good time. It’s just the best thing. And we want to be able to accommodate that as best we can. People need to let loose, and it’s nice to be the place that they can have fun in.