One more round of “Micro Pub Spot The Difference” for you tonight. I certainly failed to distinguish the Old Bay Alehouse from three dozen others in Thanet and Lancashire. Perhaps they should call it something distinctive like Jug & Firkin, Ale Corner or Malt ‘n’ Hops.
Still, Birchington is my last tick in West Kent, and the OS extract had Groynes, Mussels and Gore to keep Russ happy (assuming he can read the small print).
It’s a dull workaday Thanet village, hardly a suburb of Margate, and mainly catering to retirees who like pie and chips and windswept winters on Minnis Bay.
But those retirees do at least provide a bit of pub custom on a weekday lunchtime.
Hilariously, I nearly didn’t make it, forgetting the Old Bay has a less than generous 90 minute lunch session and dawdling in the town centre before suddenly realising I had a 15 minute walk to Minnis.
Five blokes sitting round the bar gently abusing each other on the subject of spinach and cooking. “No-one understands me” said the chap in white socks.
I don’t much like the seating arrangements in places like this, high tables round the wall and locals at the bar, but it feels like their pub, and they’re polite and pleasant.
“Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)” by Sub Sub plays for the benefit of no-one except me, pleased to hear from Wilmslow’s finest dance act after 25 years.
I even warm to the pews and sofas.
This one would fade quickly in the memory, just as previous Birchington GBG entry the Wheel already has, with a Thanet Micro GBG Merry-Go-Round in full flow. Now they know how Ales of the Unexpected and the Harbour Arms feel, I thought.
Just one thing. The beer was sensational. NBSS 4 for the cool, rich Clouded Minds Stout, a beer of the month contender.
So once again, Thanet CAMRA get it right. As they nearly always do.