There’s a lot of good beer in Gravesend, but walk a couple of miles west to mainly residential Northfleet and things dip alarmingly, as you’d expect near the Ebbsfleet football ground. You could, at a push, walk to the George & Dragon at Swanscombe, but not today.
A succession of run-down pubs promote cheap lager, mostly from attractive looking shells. Some beautiful windows, and plenty of Meux memorabilia still about.
I got some funny looks and a few questions taking outside photos, even from across the road. I can only guess they thought I was surveying potential purchases, though I didn’t look that business-like. Some of the pubs were incredibly photogenic though.
Northfleet itself has a tiny centre based around it’s church, and a couple of Ye Olde type pubs. The Olde Coach and Horses looks a classic coaching inn, albeit a bit neglected.
It’s new to the Beer Guide, though WhatPub warns of a changes of management and reduced beer range, which means Doom Bar, Hobgoblin or Westons. I have an irrational dislike of Hobgoblin on principle, daft as it’s a decent beer.
So Doom Bar it is, served in a miserable lager glass by disinterested staff in an empty old-fashioned pub, at the extraordinary price of £1.90 a half. But it’s pretty good (NBSS 3), and I wouldn’t deny it it’s temporary moment in the Guide.
I can see why publicans stock Doom Bar. It tastes of something, good turnover means a reliable pint, and you probably haven’t got a clue what the guests taste like. It’s certainly not a premium pint; some of the most basic pubs in Fenland Cambridgeshire stock it successfully.
The real star of the show here is the food menu though.
A menu stretching from cheesy chips to cheese burger and chips. What times we live in.