Nick from Erlangen doesn’t keep an active blog, but his twitter account is one of the best photographic accounts of current UK pubs I’ve seen, along with Alan Winfield and BRAPA. We’ve compared notes on our favourite pub towns, and I’ve still got work to do to persuade him of the merits of Mansfield and Macclesfield.

We agree on the Isle of Thanet though, and I met Nick briefly while mopping up a few pubs in East Kent this week.  There’s few better places to convene than the Yard of Ale.

St Peters is an attractive little suburb of Broadstairs that I know quite well as my teenage son goes skateboarding here occasionally.

Apparently only Corby and Aintree have better skateparks; they are virtual beer deserts of course, but Broadstairs has one of the CAMRA’s four Pub of the Year finalists, and a fair few others worth a visit, including the Four Candles micro down the road.

Yard of Ale, St Peter’s

The Yard of Ale has all the usual micro features, including £3 pints, but the seating is some of the best and that helps it feel less claustrophobic than some.  Straw bales, flagstones and solid wood rather distract you from its former use by the local undertakers. Not quite Dead Poets in Holbrook, but one of the great pub atmospheres.

The beer range was as good as you could hope for. Gadds, Titanic, Oakham and Dancing Duck are reliable brewers and that board gives a good choice of styles and strengths.  Because I cannot tell a lie, I can’t tell you it was quite the best beer in Thanet, but it was certainly good enough. Better palates than mine were more generous.

As in all micros you’re sitting drinking with the owner, or at least Alan from Rawmarsh was when I tuned into his conversation on Middlesbrough micros.

The mysterious Alan’s arm.

I quickly turned into pub-bore mode with Allan (not his real name no doubt) myself to discuss a changing Doncaster, and the pubby claim to fame of Rawmarsh – none, though it is quite close to the famed Prince of Wales in Greasbrough.

Allan was visiting all the micros and National inventory pubs, and making a fine job of it.  Simon Everitt and I will hope he leaves the Beer Guide to ourselves and the mysterious Duncan, as a retired man with a free bus pass is dangerous competition.

Many ludicrous words were spoken. As they say, you had to be there. Nick turned up 20 minutes into a bewildering conversation about lime cordial and quickly got us back onto CAMRA approved conversation about real ale.

It’s rare I spent more than an hour in one pub, but only the call of the famed Loop bus and Nick’s hunt for hops in St Peters could get us to leave.

Follow Nick and Alan.  Visit Thanet.

Nick is very probably the world expert on Thanet pubs at this moment, and that’s something to be.  The pace of change, started by the first micropubs only five years ago, isn’t stopping any time soon. 


13 thoughts on “THE YARD OF ALE, ST PETERS

  1. You mention Mansfield and Macclesfield. What are some of your other favorite pub towns? I have read the whole blog so I have an idea, but am curious which you would call out.


    1. Apart from Thanet towns, would be Hull, Newcastle, Preston, Stockport, central Manchester, Halifax, Falmouth, Burton, Shrewsbury and Hastings.

      Great beer in places like Sheff, Derby, Cambridge and Norwich, but pubs can be a bit CAMRA for me. Pubs ought to have a wide range of folk in them.

      Liable to change that frequently !

      And you Dave ?


      1. My brother and I are from the US and do week long pub tours in England. Our favorites are Sheffield, Norwich, Burton, Liverpool, York, and Newcastle. Love the list you posted since it offers up some that we have not visited. Love your blog as well. Read it religiously. Also love individual pubs like Cover Bridge in Yorkshire. Your country has many many great places to enjoy a cask ale. It is our favorite holiday.


      2. Glad you enjoy our pubs. All your favourites are wonderful cities as well (Burton has great curry and beer !)

        Cover Bridge one of best pubs I’ve visited too. Went just after Tour de France. Must go back.

        Thanks for commenting. Always appreciated.


  2. Aw, I’m so touched. It was good to see you, and yes, it was an interesting conversation to be on the fringes of for a while. But it was good timing, I’d been yammering on all day by that point, so just listening for a while was fine.

    Of course, in the months until I’m back in Thanet again, things will have changed radically and the population probably doubled from emigrating DFL’rs.


    1. Pleasure to be in the company of two such interesting as well as informed folk; appreciate it can be dull when you’re on edge of banter about a place you haven’t been to. Derby should be on your list. Doable by train.

      Loved all your photos; really capture pub life.

      I’m bringing my son to Nuremberg 28-31 May for an event in Schwarzenbach. Be good to see you 30 or 31st in Erlangen when I see your town for myself.


  3. Thanks, it’s nice to hear someone likes them aside from myself. I do it as much out of boredom as to document for myself where I’ve been and what things are like there.

    Dunno how much you’ve travelled around Franken, but honestly, Erlangen has very little for the beer enthusiast. If you’ve not been to Forchheim, that would be a must instead, only a bit further up the line. A beautiful, old city, whereas Erlangen is a bit corporate, international, and bland. Neither were bombed though.


    1. Will do Forcheim, but always interested to see the smaller places. In last 18 months have done the Ruhr (Dortmund/Koln/Dusselddorf), Berlin, Munich and Nurnberg); been to a lot of places along the Rhine and Bavaria too. All fantastic, whether great beer or not. I use the B&B Hotel chain; they’re a bit like Premier Inn.


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