Our campervan safely parked on Ramsgate promenade (for free !), we walked the mile uphill to the railway station. Sensible folk use the famed Thanet Loop Bus to hop between micros, but we were determined to avoid overdoing it, now that news of the Government’s reduced drinking levels has reached the Fens.
So, just a direct train to Margate and a pint in the new Guide micro then.
That picture’s the old Margate of course, the new one is the Turner, a revitalised rollercoaster and artisan pizzas by the emerald sea.
Almost immediately, Mrs RM desperately needed some internet from the Wetherspoons, which necessitated a half (£1.70) of something cold and crafty from Westerham. Mrs RM wasn’t as impressed with the beer as the Wi-Fi, though her inability to identify it as keg might be a bonus for some.
Some interesting cask in the Mechanical Elephant, but even with the imminent threat of half a dozen unused Spoons vouchers I couldn’t be tempted.
The walk up Marine Drive shows the glories of the beach, and the ongoing smartening up of the shopfronts is startling. That includes the Two Halves, which Mrs RM found bright and shiny though she didn’t get on as well with the local Mild as I did (NBSS 3). You can see most of the line up below. A very cheery place.
My Tweet from Spoons prompted a mini-wave of recommendations and orders to visit places that weren’t in the Beer Guide. The fact I relented is entirely Mrs RM’s fault.
ErlangerNick had recommended the London Tavern, and he is #PubMan No.1 when it comes to Thanet. It looked fantastic.
And it was, in the main. It felt the sort of prosperous family-oriented pub you’d find in Walthamstow or Dulwich, which you can take how you like. Toddlers driving their tricycles around in the lower bar isn’t to everyone’s taste, but suited me as much as the old chap in a flat cap sitting at the bar. All human life was here.
I was more surprised than disappointed by a beer range almost straight out of a BBB textbook, expecting the traditional micro-pub offerings.
The stem glass was mine, and the Adnams was very good, on the cusp of NBSS 3.5. Mrs RM went with the masses, and found the Camden a bit underpowered for her Double IPA tastes. But at least it was cold, eh ? Obviously, the craft key keg (all Time & Tide) were tucked away in that lower bar behind Tricycle Boy.
As I say, the atmosphere was spot-on, we showed we weren’t middle-class diners (us ?) by eating our top quality mussels and cheese board in the public bar rather than the restaurant, and assumed that the Lionel Richie was being played ironically.
By now I’d retrieved Newbury Tim’s top article on Margate, which made a visit to Fez pretty compulsory, if only to take the obligatory photo of the Bass sign.
So good was it, it’s going to get its own post as a Top 100 pub, breaking all the rules. Some fantastic toilet art in there, you may be astonished to know.
The walk from the London to the Fez shows the other side of Margate; a grim High Street and shopping arcade, with an ultra-rare undeveloped Woolworths.
I guess the availability of prime locations at reasonable rates is why Margate is such fertile ground for micropubs, and Tunbridge Wells and Cambridge aren’t (yet).
I doubt the Bottle Shop would think itself a micro, it’s more a classy bar with a strong beer offering. Five points for working out what distinguishes this from the average micro from the picture below;
No cask, but excellent evil keg filth from Beavertown and Oedipus. Or Octopus, as Mrs RM called it, obviously confused by our lunch in Faversham. It may be coincidental that Manager Steve asked if we’d been drinking. We really weren’t that drunk; perhaps he was just being chatty. “I’m a real ale drinker” screamed Mrs RM as Steve attempted to explain the Prosecco menu, clearly curated to match the music menu of Steely Dan and Steve Miller.
Fantastic place to finish off a wonderful pub town. Of course, there’s not enough space in the Beer Guide, or our evening, to take in the Northern Belle, a classic basic Sheps pub where I had one of the great nights a few years back.