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Micawber’s Wine Bar Grimsby ~ The History

Micawber’s Wine Bar Grimsby
I’d better not say this is a long lost pub in Lincolnshire as I used to drink in there, an old photograph stirred the memory of what was . . .
The first wine bar in Lincolnshire Grimsby . . .

The beginning of the 1980s, Thatcher’s Britain, pubs gave way to wine bars in London, then elsewhere, eventually the wine bar made it to Lincolnshire and Grimsby, arguably the home of alcoholic consumption in Lincolnshire.
Micawber’s Wine Bar, situated at 11 West St Mary’s Gate, on the site of St Mary’s Church, was meant to be Dickensian, wooden beams, floors etc, it was alright really.

I know because I often drank in there and despite being Grimsby’s first wine bar I don’t think I ever saw anybody with a glass of wine :)

Bailey's Pub Wine Bar Grimsby

Micawber’s Wine Bar Grimsby, Lincolnshire

The original building is, I believe, Victorian and was the Head Post Office until 1910 when it became the office of the Registrar of the High Court of Justice.

Before it became a Public House it remained unoccupied for some time and required a great deal of work internally.
To their credit to monumental wooden beams and pillars were not fake but actually salvaged from the docks and used to be support piles for the wharves - they were fantastic!

There was also an ‘upstairs’ created in the form a mezzanine floor which overlooked the main bar.
I have fond memories of the place and it wasn’t nearly as bad as it might have been given the idea and period.
It is now a pub called Bailey’s I believe, though I don’t think I’ve ever been in, perhaps I should take a look and see how it’s changed.

If you know anything at all about Micawber’s in Grimsby, even just reminiscences then please do leave a comment


  1. angry_mutant said,

    November 29, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    Hi Rod.

    Ah, there’s a thing from my dim and distant and misspent youth! I can’t add too much detail to this as I can only recall going in the place on a handful of occasions (bad vibes for my inner inverted snob, didn’t want anyone thinking that this urban anarchist had middle clarse pretentions) but I reckon you might be a year or two late for the opening. My reasoning is that, on one of the recalled visits I am pretty sure I was in the company of a fellow Grimsby College of Knowledge student, who I haven’t seen since heading off to the realms of paid employment (Hello Pete F, should you still read up on all things Grimbarian); I left said establishment, to the accompaniment of loud whoops of joy from the academic staff, in mid 1979. However, it was a long time ago, and (obviously) the consumption of probably unwisse amounts of alcohol during visits (we hadn’t heard of units in those happy, carefree days) and the passing of many years might have jumbled things together in my remaining brain cells a bit.

    Only other memory of the place was about 10 years or so ago in its later incarnation of Bailey’s Bar. A pal and I had a whale of a time losing money hand over fist running a monthly acoustic music night in the upstairs room. Despite securing the services of some really top notch performers, even then it was impossible to lure people away from the goings on in the Big Brother house, or whatever else passes as “entertainment” on the idiot box.

  2. Postman Pat said,

    November 29, 2012 @ 5:25 pm


    The 1882 Whites Directory list the Post Office as being located in West St. Mary’s Gate with Mr. Powell Chandler as Postmaster (his residence was a 6 Macaulay Terrace). Mr. John Richardson was the Chief Clerk (his residence Georges Terrace, Hainton Street). By 1882 Money Order, Savings Bank business etc was conducted Weekdays 9.00am-6.00pm, Saturday 9.00am-8.00pm.

    Postman Pat

  3. Rod said,

    November 29, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    the above photo is 1980, so pre that sounds right to me.

  4. Rod said,

    November 29, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

    that’s great, I’d really like to get all the information we can on the history of this address and this is a wonderful start - many thanks indeed.

  5. Little Brother said,

    November 29, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    Great post, wracking my brains trying to remember some info. I did used to stand at the bar and as the night and beer wore on would sit at the wooden tables directly to the left of the stairs in the picture. I do recall some lads laying under the stairs for a view!

  6. Rod said,

    November 30, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    the stairs !!
    I remember that now :)

  7. Lee said,

    November 30, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    I used to eat here at lunch times in about 1988, the best ploughman’s in Town. Always sat upstairs, in the booths. I am surprised no one has mentioned the stained glass roof, a work of art.
    I believe part of the mezzanine is now a function room and the glass roof is still in place

  8. Pete.C said,

    December 1, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    Had my Wedding reception upstairs in the mezzanine area back in 1982.
    Place was ran by chap called Dean Draper as I recall.

  9. Rod said,

    December 1, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

    thanks for the comment and welcome to the site, the name Dean Draper rings a bell, not sure why and for what else but I knew it immediately I saw it . . .

  10. Nick M said,

    December 2, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Yes, Micawbers was established by the Drapers. Dean was and is married to our local ex-Miss England.

    My own sister had a holiday job there. But, I had forgotten all about the place til this article, as it opened just as I fled the Lincolnshire nest.

  11. Pete.C said,

    December 3, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    I think it was his brother Craig, that was, is, married to Della Dolan. Runner up in the Miss Universe many moons ago.

  12. Rod said,

    December 4, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    wonderful !
    This is local history in of itself and I’m keen to record such things

  13. Karen said,

    December 5, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    I was in there once when I lived in Cleethorpes and worked in Grimsby.
    The occasion was a send off for a workmate, Karen from Keelby, who left to have a baby and I had the most wonderful bred-and-butter-pudding at Micawber’s, often remembered and talked about.


  14. Rod said,

    December 5, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

    pleased it’s brought back some memories, I think I’ve eaten there as well but I can’t really remember

  15. Keith rudd said,

    December 6, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Hi my wife Debbie and I ran it till 2001 I also took it over from the original owners in 1983 it was a good pub then had some great times ther we also ran Lloyds

  16. Rod said,

    December 6, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    thanks for that, really appreciated and welcome to the site.
    You’ve had some money out of me if you ran those two pubs :)

  17. Steve 0 said,

    December 26, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

    This was the centre of the universe in the 80’s. We thought we were sophisticated drinking bottles of liebfraumilch (or number 3 as we used to order it) or bulls blood. Spent ££££’s playing on the pac man under the stairs. THe upstairs bar was goodbody’s - cocktail bar & occasional live bands. The Drapers were truly ahead of their time back then - but thats not difficult in Grimsby is it?

  18. Rod said,

    December 27, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

    those were indeed the days :)

  19. Steven Crayn said,

    December 31, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    the upstairs bar was a great music venue played there myself and saw many local and out of town bands there

  20. Rod said,

    December 31, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    they were great days, thanks for chipping in.
    All the best

  21. Andy M said,

    February 19, 2013 @ 7:46 am

    Plenty of remeniscing going on here guys. Yes indeed was the heydey of Grimsby college nights out back in 80 - 82. Jamie was the bar manager and I was sporting the Micawbers wine bar t shirt with Goodbody’s cocktails on the back. Upstairs room was Goodbodys cocktail bar and live band room. No pint glasses back then only four pint jugs with a half pint glass!! Never any trouble until the brewery bought it and always a great atmosphere. Made you drink much faster. Good times. Thanks for the memories!

  22. Rod said,

    February 19, 2013 @ 8:05 am

    thanks for the comment and welcome to the site - it feels like another life to me now, so long ago

  23. Mike A said,

    June 22, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

    With so much blandness and uniformity these days, Micawber’s does have a certain piquancy. It was never a favourite (that would have been the Bull Ring located beneath Wetherspoon’s), but it was one of many varied places to enjoy on a 1980s pub crawl. It was the variety in those days that did it -

    The County - lacked atmosphere but served food (ham rolls).

    White Hart - a real dive, but okay as part of a pub crawl.

    Bull Ring - classy, served food and had a good juke box.

    Pepy’s - a dive but cheap.

    Micawber’s - dark but “interesting”.

    Friar Tuck (q.v.) - en-route to the Barge

    Lloyds - noisy and lively. Also en-route to the Barge.

    The Barge - great juke box and atmosphere. Best place to end the night/afternoon.

  24. Steve O said,

    July 26, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

    Mike A
    thanks for the memories - I used to live in Brighowgate & you’ve just described my typical Friday nights (though they started round the corner at the wheatsheaf)
    I can’t for the life of me place the Friar Tuck or Pepy’s - but definitely drank in them!
    Always preferred Micawbers & Lloyds though.

    Saturdays were for Cleethorpes though………Clouds, Bunny’s, the Flam etc

  25. Vanessa M said,

    December 9, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    A bit late to the party on this one, but as my own dear brother (for I suspect it is he) points out further up the page, I had a holiday job in Micawbers one summer when I was a student. It was a beacon of sophistication in the town in those days and I worked upstairs in the cocktail bar, where many a customer delighted in making me blush with the suggestive names of the drinks.

    It was started by the Drapers and run by Dean and Craig, and Craig is the brother who is married to Della, née Dolan. My abding memory of the place, though, is the very fancy fresh orange juice machine that was behind the bar downstairs - probably just obscured in your photo. Funny the random things that stick in the mind.

  26. Rod said,

    December 9, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    thanks for the comment and welcome to the site - you’re not ‘late’ as there’s no time relevance to anything on this site, all information and thoughts are cherished
    All the best

  27. angry_mutant said,

    December 9, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

    Vanessa, for some time now, I have also thought that that’s your sibling further up the page. Thanks for the confirmation! Before I became an enigmatic poster and man of mystery (much like our esteemed site host here) with my nom de plume, he and I suffered through the same education. As did you and my kid siter, IIRC.

    Hope that’ll keep you guessing for a while…


  28. Nick said,

    February 28, 2015 @ 12:34 am

    Dear Angry_Mutant,

    Soz, I missed your message above when you first posted it, but ‘our kid’ has just recently pointed it out to me.

    Straight away I thought that you were in fact… you, despite you leaving the false trail that described yourself as a “Grimsby College of Knowledge” student, when we are indeed CLEETHORPES Brain Factory alumni. Some Schools Boast of Their Ancient Founders, Some of Their Cloisters Grey, innit.

    So, here in public I reveal you as none other than Anna_Gram_Mot. How you doin’?

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