Derbyshire town's newest bar banks place in Peak District's top ten after £100,000 investment

“If you get a street where people can go to different restaurants, go to different bars and have an experience that is high standard they'll come back,” said businessman John Morris.

By Gay Bolton
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 11:07 am

The former Derbyshire and England Test cricketer has put his money where his mouth is by investing more than £100,000 to transform the old NatWest bank building on Dale Road, Matlock, into Bradmans Wine Cellar.

John said: “I wanted to create something that wasn’t a traditional bar, something a bit more upmarket with an inner-city London style. There is nowhere else in Matlock that has the river frontage with views down the river, a modern feel to the bar and plenty of booth seating in the windows. We’ve just completed the champagne deck outside which will be open for the summer.

“Matlock is a great place with some fantastic bars, restaurants and pubs. You don't just go to one bar, you have a drink with us, then go to the next bar and so on – that is the key to making a success of an area and that is what is being achieved in Matlock at the moment.”

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Bar manager Gary Burdekin, left, with head bartender and assistant bar manager Jordy Duffy working at Bradmans Wine Cellar in Dale Road, Matlock,

In just seven months since opening in the town Bradmans has been rated as one of the top ten best bars and pubs to visit in the Peak District based on TripAdvisor reviews.

The business prides itself on offering an extensive range of wine, craft beers and cocktails including a pear Martini and signature Bradmans bramble made with a pinot noir gin. John, 57, who lives in Duffield, said: “We’re a full-on bar experience. Our selection of wine is probably second to none in Matlock.”

Award-winning bar manager Gary Burdekin is at the helm of the Matlock team. John said: “Gary applied for the job from TGI Fridays in Derby having won bar tender of the year and coming second in the world championships in Florida. He has a really high standard CV and he’s taken his expertise and his knowledge to the drinks and the atmosphere he creates which is credit to him. We have a really good team that work with him – five staff members and some temporary staff who come in when shifts need filling.”

Like other businesses of its kind, Bradmans Wine Cellar felt the effects of the pandemic which delayed its launch in Matlock by 18 months. John said: “In this awkward time we’ve lived in, through Covid and restrictions and masks, it’s been very difficult for the hospitality industry. I don’t think we’ve been particularly well looked after by the Government when other businesses seem to have had a lot more help than we have. To come through it and be strong through this period is incredible for a new business.

Former Derbyshire and England Test cricketer John Morris is the owner of Bradmans Wine Cellar in Matlock.

"We love what we do and we love the people who come in and support us.”

Bradmans Wine Cellar – which takes its name from Australian international cricketer Don Bradman - is the second to be opened by John and his son Tom. The pair launched their business in Duffield in 2018, also in a former NatWest bank building. John said: “The good thing about banks is that they've always been kept in pretty good condition. In Matlock, we had to rip it all out and start afresh. We’ve kept the old vault with safe door, which is on show, but unfortunately all the money’s gone!”

HIs passion for wine blossomed during overseas tours as a first-class cricketer.

Signed to Derbyshire at 17 on leaving school in Crewe, John said “When I was about 19 I got taken to a vineyard for the very first time in Stellenbosch, one of the wine regions of South Africa. It was a real eye-opener and I didn’t realise how much work and effort and love and care went into a bottle of wine. I later went to New Zealand, Australia, all these great countries that produced fantastic wine. As I grew older, I started accumulating knowledge about French, German, Spanish wine as well as the New World wines.”

Well stocked bar at Bradmans Wine Cellar in Matlock.

During his 22-year cricketing career the middle-order batsman scored 21,539 runs in 362 first-class matches, including 52 centuries.

John was selected for the Ashes tour to Australia in 1990-91, captained by Graham Gooch and including such legendary players as his Derbyshire team-mate Devon Malcolm, David Gower, Alan Lamb, Phil Tufnell and Mike Atherton.

He said: “We had a champagne lifestyle on a bare income. Cricket wasn’t paid like it is today. We didn’t play for money – it was about playing cricket and the chance to go around the world.”’

Having built up a vast knowledge of wine on his global travels, John said: “French wine has become my favourite, big bold reds like Burgundy or white wines like Chardonnay, and Champagne. The French dominate the market place because they are good at what they do.”

The priciest bottle of wine John has sold was to a private investor who shelled out an eye-watering £33,000 for a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti French Burgundy.

John said: “The most expensive wine I’ve ever paid for was when my grandson was born – a Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon which cost £800.”

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