I’d been bracing myself for Kent‘s fresh onslaught of micro madness in the new GBG, bringing with it high tables, horrific opening hours and pickled eggs. (And those are the fun bits).

But I had been looking forward to re-exploring West Malling, a posh village on the edge of Maidstone noted for the fine statue of “Pashmina Pauline“, a regular reader of this blog.

West Malling

Pashmina is figurative, Prosecco not shown

Small Kentish towns are an underrated species, often overlooked in favour of Sussex with its Rye and Lewes and Crawley.

West Malling has a regal looking Town Hill dominated by Nevills (not Neville Neville, thankfully).

Home of Nevill, apparently
The Nevill Bull
Nothing to do with Nevill

I do like to judge a town by its blue plaques.  I struggled here.

Wow,Treasurer of Uganda

Note that they don’t even have an exact date of birth for CK Dain.  This lack of precision extends to the census, with the population listed as “about 2,500 to 5,000“, a cheery margin of error. I like to think the population can double or halve each year due to the influx of GBG tickers.

Almost every building on the High Street is a restaurant of some sort, offering either lobster for two or low fat curry.

Frank’s Mussel Bar

And almost every car that passes me is a BMW, so I find respite in King Street Motors.

Number plate removed prior to my photo

You never know what dispense to expect in micros these days, but this open-air hipster keg font was taking things to extremes.

Probably not a Cloudwater approved outlet

The Malling Jug had a sign pointing down an alley to match the tiny ones in Stockton.

Easy to miss

Down some STEEP steps to a smart cellar bar which impressively matches bench seating with high tables, which I immediately bump into.

You’re not in Thanet now, Tonto retiredmartin

In Thanet you get slightly scruffy places with beers (£3) written on a board in chalk. I’m surprised the Jug has beers for £3, but I trade up to the Goachers as I like to flash the cash.

I have no idea what P.T. stands for

Actually, my notes record a conversation with the uniformed staff along the lines of;

“Sorry there’s only one beer on”

Oh, one’s plenty.  At least you’re open

Who knows ?

Obviously, I’m the only customer, so I’m able to capture the tat for you.

Paul Bailey will fill us in on the history

The staff are busy logging in the beers (craft keg) so I don’t have to have the usual micro pub discussions, but on the other hand I’m a bit bored.

The Goachers is pretty much what you expect, a solid 3 but “shoulda gone to the Rifle Volunteers” as someone will say.

Cool, solid, unexciting

No doubt Simon will arrive on a Saturday at 4pm to find a riot in progress; I stumbled up the steps into the drizzle to find an old boy pressing for directions to the gun shop.


  1. That Courage Alton mirror definitely isn’t a reproduction but why’s it consigned to the gents where it will be ruined by the humidity ?
    Those T Phillips signs look a bit dodgy though. They don’t look as if they were made in the 1930s.
    I used the Rising Sun at East Malling, a free house, a couple of times about 25 years ago.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I knew the Peter Tonge, with an ‘e’, a Fleet Street journalist who had grown up in Kent and went to school with Mick Jagger.


    1. That would be it, then.

      I’m glad to see that Frank’s restaurant and mussel bar is still going. The mussels were indeed worth singling out in the name, and the steak that I had there was hard to beat.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. According to my records the Phillip’s Oatmeal Stout has a P.T. of 23, whereas the IPA has a P.T. of 12. (I made this up, as I haven’t got a clue what it means).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “noted for the fine statue of “Pashmina Pauline“, a regular reader of this blog.”

    I thought she looked familiar. 🙂

    “Small Kentish towns are an underrated species”

    And very hard to read on OS maps. About all I can make out (apart from the Mallings) is a place called… Barmy?
    (folks must be mad to live there)

    “Wow,Treasurer of Uganda”

    Apparently he ‘treasured’ Lady Agnew as well.

    “I like to think the population can double or halve each year due to the influx of GBG tickers.”

    If you liken it to a kind of tourism you could very well be right. 😉

    “Number plate removed prior to my photo”

    Ah. It’s one of those ‘doors, wheels, engine etc. are extra’. 🙂

    “Probably not a Cloudwater approved outlet”

    That looks remarkably like the Strongbow Dark Fruits dispenser from an earlier post. 😉

    “I have no idea what P.T. stands for”

    I’m guessing a reference to the colour?

    “but “shoulda gone to the Rifle Volunteers” as someone will say.”

    Ah yes, the armchair ticker. 🙂

    “pressing for directions to the gun shop.”

    You still have those over there?


    Liked by 1 person

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