The Rusty Bicycle, The Rickety Press & The Bottle of Sauce
Chris Manners is now the landlord of three Arkell's pubs after starting with his first in 2009.
He now runs the hugely successful Rusty Bicycle and Rickety Press, both in Oxford, plus The Bottle of Sauce in Cheltenham, which he opened in 2016 alongside his business partner, Leo Johnson.
Chris entered the industry because it’s sociable and people-orientated. He says he hasn’t been disappointed but admits it’s a lot less glamorous than anticipated.
"We were naïve at the beginning, pulling pints is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the day-to-day running of the business which takes time, that and the cleaning and planning."
Would he change what he does?
"No – we enjoy being our own bosses. We’re in charge of our own destiny and it's sociable – although we're always the hosts and not the guests!”
As tenants, Chris and Leo are financially responsible for the business itself, but Arkell's take care of the fabric of the building. "We bought the inventory when we moved in, but if we move on we’ll sell it to the incoming landlord," explains Chris. "It is reassuring to know that if there is a leak in the roof or a problem with the building, Arkell’s take responsibility – just like a residential landlord."
Being a landlord is a fine and rewarding job, says Chris, and it helps that the Arkell’s directors are approachable. "We had a lot of help and they provide us with regular information, but ultimately it's up to us,” he says. His advice before taking a tenancy is to do as much research and planning as possible.
Both he and Leo like the fact that there are no 'regional managers' between them and Arkell's. "It helps that we know everyone at the brewery, from top to bottom – it makes for a much better working relationship," he added.
----------------------------“The Brewer’s Arms, Wanborough, has been in my family since the 1950s and we’ve loved being the licensees of the pub - we really feel part of the Arkell’s family and we couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Landlord of The Brewer’s Arms
“Being a landlady isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life. No two days are ever the same. You meet some amazing characters and bring people together, it’s a really fantastic job!”
Licensee of The Riverside Inn