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THE DAME

This is a personal one, it’s a story of how beer can change the landscape as two communities come together.

Written firsthand by Clem Elphick, Head of Brand, BBF

I moved to Bristol over a decade ago. Moving to a new city is tough, but moving from the ski slopes of the French Mountains to a city is even more jarring. I craved a sport community, a group of people failing at a trick on repeat until someone locks it in and the high fives can begin. Skateboarding was the answer but as anyone who has taken a break from this sport can attest, it ain’t easy to get back into.
Cue my first visits to Campus Pool in South Bristol, a concrete dreamland built out of a disused swimming pool. It gave me a community of like-minded people and that sport fix I had been craving.
Over the visits I got to know Andre, co-owner of Campus. With a shared love of surfing, skateboarding and beer, it was love at first pint.

Lucky enough to then realise a northern boy’s pub dream, I joined Bristol Beer Factory in 2017. This is when the pieces of this skate/beer jigsaw started to align.

Campus was a space that was open to all, for a very small fee, to enjoy some of the best indoor ramps and bowls this country has to offer. People were given a community by these guys, who created these spaces through passion and hard work.
The team had a cafe attached that brought in some good funds during the day, but with limited time and a small, stretched team, it is always hard to see how to improve.

That is where we can help as stakeholders; beer is often the answer…

After a chat with Andre, I pitched the idea of a bar, not just serving a few cans but a fully operational bar serving crisp cold pints. At zero cost to Campus, we invested in their business and built all the equipment. All they needed to do was order the beer and get selling.
Fast forward 6 months and the Daily Grind launched, a brilliant cafe, pizza and beer venue serving toddlers, groms, parents and evening rollers 6 days/nights a week.

It is fair to say that this move changed the game for their business. Now they can still provide safe world-class skateparks for all at a small fee but bring in real turnover through the cafes. They deserve this, a passionate crew who helped me find my people in a new city.

Jump to 2023 and team Campus opens The Dame, located right at the bottom of the Dean Lane Skatepark North Street and under a mile from the Brewery. This place is pure dive - a giant bar sits in the middle with bar seats all around and booths to the edges. Skate decks line the walls and a sticky pool table finishes this place off.
Skating brings every walk of life together, The Dame embodies this ethos to perfection, they have created a space where every person feels safe and able to express themselves.
I bloody love it.
Some pretty darn good BBF beer pouring in there also mind.

This story matters to me, a journey over a decade between two businesses that pride themselves on uniting people. A skatepark that had no thoughts of bars, now run one of the best underground city venues in Bristol.
Keep it independent, these businesses just do more for their and your cities, simple.

If you are yet to grace either Campus Skateparks or The Dame, please get yourself down, you will be welcomed into any of them, then have a cold pint of BBF.

Nice one,
An average beer-loving-skater.

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