It’s cheaper than eBay, there’s a burger van and everything smells of old ladies
Ebay used to be a great place to find old glassware and assorted tat for bar decor, but these days anything made before 1990 is considered ‘vintage’, and therefore desirable (thanks hipsters), and prices have shot up.
Add to that the inevitable tenner for delivery, and the fact that eBay acts as a universal price guide, and it has become increasingly difficult to find bargains online.
For the bartender looking for competition glassware, or a bar owner looking to give their venue a kitsch flavour, this is a pain in the arse.
Step forward the car boot sale, and in particular the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium car boot sale.
Held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the stadium car park, a determined rummager who is prepared to sift through some junk will always find a few great pieces for next to no cash.
The stalls are run by a mixture of house clearance outfits (buy a box of assorted glasses, old bottles and crockery for £1), retro dealers (same prices as eBay for ‘cool stuff’ but without the delivery charge) and regular Joes (no idea what things should cost – the real bargains are found here).
In addition to glassware and retro tat, there are always people selling old furniture, mirrors, bar stools and AV equipment, so the entrepreneurial bar operator opening his or her first joint on a shoestring could probably save a few bob with a visit to the dog track before paying top dollar elsewhere.
Every price is negotiable, and the burger van sells really nice chips… searching for bargains here is much more enjoyable than sifting through eBay for hours.
The Wednesday boot sale opens at 10:30am (closes at 2:00pm) and costs £1 to enter. This is the smaller of the two sales, and is more geared to the antique-y end of the market.
If you are looking for big bar mirrors, vintage furniture (think old school desks, church pews etc), benches, leather chairs or anything else for a bar fit out, this is the day to go.
The Saturday sale opens at 8am (closes at 12:00pm) and also costs £1 to enter. Much bigger than Wednesdays, this is when all the house clearance outfits and private sellers turn up, meaning there will be lots of glassware, retro kitsch and other random stuff.
Vinyl lovers will like Saturdays as there are usually a number of record dealers around, as well as crates of old LPs to sift through on the house clearance stalls.
Both days run all year round, but it is worth checking the weather forecast the day before… if rain is likely, very few sellers will turn up, so pick another day.
Wimbledon Stadium has lots of parking available, and you’ll obviously need a car if you are going to buy furniture, although there are a few cab offices close by. The address for the stadium is: