This week we find ourselves in the orbit of Dive Hu5, a local pub/bar that has reopened in the wake of the coronavirus crisis with big ambitions. Dom Smith chats with Nick Cobley about renovations, new procedures, coffee and Nick’s band, NewMeds.
With society slowly opening up again businesses are trying to find a way back to normality, or trying to adjust to the “new normal” as some people may say. Some people would say that this isn’t the time to take risks with your business, but Nick thinks differently. He says: “We’ve always wanted to do coffee, but at the back there we just didn’t have the space to do it. So where the bar is now it was the cellar, me and [co-owner, Joe] Brodie came in one night and just said ‘let’s just hammer through the wall, and once that’s done we have to do it’.”
Renovating the bar was no mean feat and took a friend who was a joiner and some YouTube tutorials to make it happen. Bringing it back to coffee, it was a talented, and good mate of Nick and Brodie’s, Dave Preston (from Black Market Coffee) who helped get the wheel turning. “He’s one of our good friends anyways, Dave, he helped us build the stage back when we moved the bar last time, and he’s one of the local lads who’s a top quality barista.
We’ve always wanted him to come here, but we couldn’t afford a wage obviously, we couldn’t really afford the money to get a coffee machine, so the idea for us to ever do coffee would have been black with milk or not at all.”
In terms of branding and bringing Black Market Coffee in to the Dive fold, Nick reflects positively: “We all just brainstormed one day and sat down and thought about what we wanted the brand to look like, Dave came up with a name and then just went from there.”
The lockdown was tough for businesses all across the country, and it was no different for Dive, the business had to take out a loan to survive. “Like, we kinda sat in for the first month, just worrying about when this grant is gonna come through and if we could survive or not another couple of months, then we just went fuck it, unless we do this unless we change something then it’s going to be the same as it was before, not that it was bad – we just wanted something new and fresh for people to come back to,” comments Cobley.
Things are looking up since the business reopened by operating a takeaway coffee hatch throughout the day, and a bar at night. Also, the business is operating a discount for students and the NHS along with having free WIFI, which is a nice bonus.
With things looking up is Nick, looking to franchise out the Dive brand in the future. “First I want to get this place running as a business model, because we’ve got big plans for what we’re gonna do above here for bands that come through, and stuff like that, we want it to be a creative hub that you can come to.”
We’ve got a little music room to practice in, and we want to have an Airbnb for touring bands when they get up and running again, wherever we go in the future, if we end up making another DIVE then it has to be able to run the same.”
Before we end our interview, we get an update on Nick’s band NewMeds and what their plans are for future releases. “We recorded an EP just before lockdown, we haven’t had a chance to finish that off yet, there are just little bits that need doing, it’s 90 per cent there. We got the title, we got most of the artwork sorted out, but we’re thinking about maybe doing a part 1 and a part 2 to it.”
Before finishing up, we got some core business tips from Nick: “Do it now or your never gonna do it, take a bigger risk, take a bigger gamble, if you believe in it enough then passion will drive you to do it and make it work.”
Interview: Dom Smith / Words: Brett Herlingshaw
Check out Soundsphere magazine’s last live gig from DIVE HU5 earlier this year: