Almost a Pub Cat for Mudgie from Sittingbourne‘s burgeoning collection of alley (cat) art.

Back to chronology, and the annual slog out along the North Kent coast, though at least the new pubs are all close to the station.  Sadly, no new Gillingham ticks.

Sw’Ale, as they say

It seems only ten months since I was here before, being stared at in the Spoons, and not much has changed.

A theme of this blog is the gradual improvement of Britain and its pubs, and I find road repairs a symbol of that gradual improvement here. A new artisan sourdough shop was more what I was hoping for.

Sadly, this Ypres Castle NOT Jeff Bell’s new gaff

Why do folk find you odd for taking photos of building sites ? Or street art ?

A momento of Wonder Woman’s little known trip to Sittingbourne

A lot more shoppers  than I’ve seen before; it’s good to see they don’t go to Sheerness or Gillingham to buy their tat. I popped in to buy a discounted pack of sushi, and the Starbucks lady gave me a free sample of their Christmas egg nog.  Winners.

Ye Olde Shoppes

A fourth trip for a new Sittingbourne pub in four years, you might think the potential for new riches had been exhausted, but no. And it’s NOT another micro pub.

And it’s NOT Bunters either.


Which is a shame.  Just what is Craft Union, anyway ?  I don’t think it’s very crafty.

For GBG 2018, I give you The Red Lion.

Proper Pub alert

In a town with robust looking boozers and a slightly posh new Spoons (with hotel for the tourist flood), the Red Lion manages to be both robust and rustic, which you can have as a name for a pub chain for free.

Once again, I am stared at by folks as I loiter at the entrance at 11.59. It really must be the photography, because at the bar I am generally ignored by staff in favour of younger, more attractive customers (and to be fair, ones who spend more than my £1.70 on a half).

But here, I am met with the usual friendly Swale welcome, and some poetry.

Especially for #ShakespeareSunday

The tight beer range, too, is poetry.

Great choice (seriously)

A choice of two is more than enough.  I can’t stand Purity, apart from the strong one I had at their craft bar in Brum, so it was actually a Hobson’s choice, as it were.

For the first time since Hendon, asking for a half caused some mild panic at the bar.

How’d you do a half ?”    Er, divide £3.40 by 2 ?  The barmaid sought wiser counsel.

By the time she’d returned I’d drunk a quarter of it.

You’ve been drinking it, haven’t you !”  mischievously rather than in admonishment, or perhaps to deny me a top-up I would never have requested.

Blokes. Beer. Not much banter.

The Pride was drinking well enough first out of the pumps, a solid NBSS 3.  At least one other chap drinking the ale at 12.15, which is one more than in a fair few pubs these days. My notes say “cool, flat, tasty“, which tells you why I won’t ever be a beer sommelier.

The pub itself reminded me of the slightly shabby Dickensian riverside places you get in Rotherhithe (or Gravesend, to be fair).

A large area was set for a Christmas booking I sensed would have given BRAPA good copy.

Happy Christmas

I preferred the more austere area facing the High Street.

Note rare 17th century dart board placing

The times they are a-changing”  sang Dylan.  Very slowly. They followed Bob with Sandie Shaw, as you must.  No Bangles (or Prince) despite my blog title.

Pleasant pub, proper pub people.

I will

Just for you, this was the cask line-up in the Spoons, which was heaving;

Bar 1
Bar 2

Old Dairy, Neptune, Nelson and Whitstable.  Where was ErlangerNick ?

And finally, because you have to show a chippy shop when you visit Sittingbourne;


Footnote: This is the source for that comment about “gone all trembly”






      1. Part of the response to MRO is that the big pubcos are getting away from traditional tenancies and splitting their pubs between free-of-tie leases and bringing them in-house as managed sites. Enterprise (sorry, Ei) have two brands for their managed pubs, Bermondsey Pub Company as their mid-market chain, and Craft Union as their Carling-& Sky wet-led pubs. They’re expanding it aggressively, from nowhere 2 years ago to 500 Craft Unions planned by 2020 – assuming they don’t get bought by Coors or Carlsberg first.

        I’m not the biggest fan of a lot of Purity stuff but I’ve had some cracking pints of Pure Gold in the past.


      2. Rather than being “managed pubs” in the conventional sense of the word, I think these are a kind of hybrid franchise model, where the stocking arrangements are decided by the pubco, but the lessee still runs it as a stand-alone business, as opposed to being a salaried employee.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Cup Final records by finalists lasted the 1980s, a period when our FA Cup Final was the only live football many people watched. Now the FA Cup rates slightly above the opening of a packet of crisps on the excitement stakes.


      2. Even after having my son-in-law explain the football leagues to me five times I am not sure I truly understand them. Many cups from what I can tell.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I understood the Dylan comment! Opening a packet of crisps, especially Piper’s, ranks very high on my list because of where it means I am sitting. The FA Cup, not so much. (I will look it up.)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “Now the FA Cup rates slightly above the opening of a packet of crisps on the excitement stakes.”

        Sheesh, did not know that.

        I’m familiar with, and rather like the idea, of the FA Cup. The slim chance that a local club can wind up going against one of the best and win it all. 🙂


        PS – I’m sure you’re aware of why most awards are called ‘cups’. Cricket, football (non-American), tennis and rugby were all invented in Britain, and all had the pub as their main venue at the start.*

        * – again, from Pete Brown’s book The Pub

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Call me a pedant but surely the ” it’s ” in the title is redundant if referring to the The Bangles ditty ?
    Just another Sittingbourne Sunday,surely ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheesh! I take a day off from the Net to assist my better half with catering (and the resulting cleanup) and RM goes on a tear. But I’m back to normal (?) now:

    “Note rare 17th century dart board placing”

    Well, they were shorter back then. 🙂

    “For GBG 2018, I give you The Red Lion.”

    As opposed to all the other Red Lions? Pete Brown, in his book The Pub, says the Red Lion is the most popular pub name (over 4,000 apparently).



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