Tag Archives: Kent

The Potting Shed, Hythe, Kent

The Potting Shed is a no-nonsense, no-frills little boozer where drinking beer is clearly the main, if not the only task in hand.

You’ll find the Potting Shed on a quiet olde worlde street near the centre of Hythe on the South Kent coast.

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Run by Peter, the Potting Shed has been open since September 2014.

When we arrived towards the end of a lunchtime session on a Sunday it was standing room only, not that there is a large amount of sitting room as this micropub is somewhat more micro than others.   There was a choice of three ales, available from jacket –cooled casks behind the bar, and also a selection of ciders.   There was also a hand-pump on the bar, but we were not sure whether or not it was in use.

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We forgot to ask what the premises were used for before Pete took over, but from the looks of it, it might well have been a chippy or some other kind of takeaway as the high counter is still in place and now acts as the bar.

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All in all a good, basic watering hole that proves you don’t need a theme or a gimmick to be popular.

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The Firkin Alehouse, Folkestone

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The Firkin Alehouse is close to the centre of Folkestone. A firkin’ enormous cask (I don’t know the correct name for it, but it was much bigger than a firkin) dominates the centre of the pub and acts as a high table.

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The Firkin Ale House was voted Ashford, Folkestone and Romney Marsh CAMRA Pub of the Year 2014.

When we visited there was a choice of 3 ales available, all accompanied by good descriptions and tasting notes.   There were also 3 draught ciders, plus red, white, rose and Prosecco wines. Also on display is a list of the next few ales due to be tapped.   I tried a pint of Old Dairy Red Top, which was excellent.

There is no bar and drinks are served through a small hatch from a cool room.  Seating is at dark wood high tables on bar stools.

There is also limited outdoor seating at the front of the pub.

A vast array of carry-out sizes were available from 1 pint up to 35 pints with almost every conceivable increment in between!

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An excellent micropub serving great beer!

Kipps Alehouse, Folkestone

Kipps Alehouse in the centre of Folkestone was set up by Andrew, one of the original partners that created the Thirty Nine Steps in Broadstairs.

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Andrew works as an environmental consultant, working in Kipps part-time and employing carefully picked staff to run the place.

The offering at Kipps is a little different to the average micropub, so as well as an excellent choice of well-kept ales and ciders, there are also bottled beers and quality lagers. You’ll find that hot food, cakes and pastries are also on offer from an adjacent kitchen counter.

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The casks are held in a stillage behind the bar, behind a sliding glass panel which allows air conditioning to be used instead of cooling jackets, while still allowing the casks to be “on show” – this seems like a good all round solution.   When we visited there were 4 cask ales on offer, as well as ciders, wines and bottled beers.  Oh, and tea & coffee too.

Andrew explained that their clientele varied depending on the time of day and the day of the week, being busy and young on Friday and Saturday nights but with people coming in looking for a quiet place to drink at other times.

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Andrew has a keen sense that a pub belongs as much to its regulars as it does to the landlord. As such, he would like to see the place evolving around his customers’ demands and tastes as much as his own. It seems to be working – there’s a keen sense of community there. The pub often has live music and also hosts games nights.

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The room itself is quite large, being on a corner site, with lots of low, comfortable seating. There is also a pleasant outside drinking area at the back with a herb garden.

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All in all, we really liked Kipps Alehouse and felt it offered something for everyone.

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The Mash Tun, Dover

The Mash Tun is in a semi-pedestrianised area of Dover town centre, and within walking distance of the other Dover micropubs.

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Landlord and landlady Peter and Kathryn run it as a semi-retirement project, having run other pubs and a B&B in the past.

An interesting and unusual feature of this micropub is the wooden church pulpit that is installed in front of the beer room and acts as a serving counter. The ale itself is poured directly from the cask from a temperature controlled beer room.  Also on offer are ciders, wines and Prosecco.

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Decor and furnishing-wise, the pub can be divided into three sections: Front of house feels almost like a gentlemen’s club, with a mix of furniture including leather armchairs.

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The rear of the micropub is narrower (due to the space occupied by the beer room) and is furnished in a more traditional pub style with round tables and barstools.

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Finally, out back is a small courtyard with picnic benches.

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The Mash Tun opened in August 2014 but have already been awarded Deal Dover and Sandwich Cider pub of the Year and Kent Cider Pub of the Year awards by CAMRA.  Well done!

The Lanes, Dover

On a corner plot in the centre of Dover, The Lanes was the 100th micropub to open in the UK, back in December 2014, and so narrowly made it onto my list. And I’m very pleased it did because the owners, Keith and Debbie Lane, and their regulars have been so supportive of my ride.

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For such a new micropub, they have already been awarded Pub of the Season by Deal, Dover and Sandwich CAMRA.   There’s also a plaque on the wall depicting “100”.

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The micropub is quite spacious by micropub standards – the building used to be an amusement arcade. The room is carpeted and furnished with a mix of tables.

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There’s no bar, but a large window through to the temperature controlled beer room allows you to witness your ale being poured directly from the cask.   When we visited there was an impressive choice of 5 real ales available, out of which I opted for a pint of Dark Star APA. The Lanes also stock a good list of wines and a large selection of Kentish ciders and perries.

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We received such a warm welcome at The Lanes that it will stay in our memories for a long time!

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The Rack of Ale, Dover

You’ll find the Rack of Ale in central Dover on a busy main road.   It was the first micropub to open in Dover, back in October 2013.

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It’s a friendly, lively place patronised by a wide age range.   The room is narrow and deep and mostly filled out with chest-high micropub tables and benches. I had a chat with regular Jen who enjoyed being in the place so much that she eventually got a job there. Now she has plans to open up her own micropub, up North, with her partner. Landlady, Trish, was ever so friendly and hospitable too.

Beer-wise there is a very good choice of ales and ciders on offer. I believe there were 5 – 6 cask ales available when we visited.

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3 x third pint tasting paddles are also available. As you can see, my friend Jane got a little carried away with them!

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The Wrong Turn, Barfreston

I’ve now visited over 50 micropubs all over the country so it continues to surprise me when I still encounter micropubs that are quite different from any that I have visited so far.

And that was the case with The Wrong Turn, which is essentially a shed in a garden! (Albeit a large shed in a very big garden!).

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It’s a fitting name for a pub that is not the easiest to find and feels like it is in the middle of nowhere!  Landlady Ginny had previously used the “shed” as her art studio, but since August 2014 it has been her micropub.

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The interior does not follow the normal micropub trends, having more of a barn or country kitchen look, kitted out with farmhouse tables, bookshelves and a piano.  A selection of wicker baskets hang from the ceiling.

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If you prefer a drink outside then there are a couple of picnic benches right outside, and a few more on the lawn.

On the afternoon that we visited, the Wrong Turn was preparing for an evening of live music so it was a pity that we couldn’t stay a while. However, we had to press on towards Dover!

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