Manchester Beer Fest day. If you’re there, buy me a low alcohol German beer. That’s me in the corner, whining about the lack of seating.

Duncan will be there, showing off his knees and his GBG. I bet he’s done Kent, even though it’s 300 miles away from him and virtually next door to me.

Tilbury awaits

That’s the statue of him (above), next to his private cruise ship at Gravesend.

This year the Guide gives me one new opportunity to visit the Queen of the Kent Coast, which on a bitter Sunday lunchtime looks more gorgeous than ever.

The terraced houses leading up to Windmill Hill always delight, and include this piece of performance art.

Unimpressed bird

Inevitably the new GBG entry is a micro, inevitably hard to find, hence some energetic signposting by the side of the Masonic Hall.

Exciting Opening Times board

There’s many types of micro these days; beer bores round the walls, craft keg emporia, and the odd community local like this one.


Forget the beer barrels for seats. This is a Proper Pub, and a throwback to a time when Sunday lunch was the big session of the week.

Oh no dimpled jug

By 12.07 twenty locals have descended down the stairs and ordered cups of tea and G & Ts, or are trying to remember the nice beer they had last night.

She’s early, well, only 5 minutes late“.

It’s all heartwarmingly cheery at the bar, and the Landlady says “Hello my love !” rather than “Yes ?”. Welcome of the year.

For a micro, it’s a little warren of drinking spaces, including this unexpected fruit beer tasting room in the immaculate Gents.

I stick to the Wantsum Hurricane (NBSS 3), which is being discussed at length as I leave for the uphill walk to Subway and beyond.

Man in the long black coat

Perhaps Gravesend suffers from its 60s legacies,


but the heritage quarter is just wonderful,

even if the Terrace has lost its pub gems, including a former National Pub of the Year.

Dead but not forgotten

The Crown & Thistle (RIP) was one of my favourite POTY winners, but Gravesend remains a great pubby treat. Pocahontas arrived 400 years too soon.


  1. Sorry too see the Crown & Thistle gone. I never went there but I know the former licensees, Phil & Jaqui, now of the Cornubia, Bristol, and I know how proud they were to have got the POTY award.


  2. Was it really “a throwback to a time when Sunday lunch was the big session of the week” or were micropub hours making them drink Monday’s beer a day early ?

    That “Man in the long black coat” suggests that you’ve lost a lot of weight during January. Nothing serious I hope.

    I think those SHRIMP BRAND BEERS were from Russell’s Gravesend Brewery which was acquired by Trumans in 1930.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. This was my first time hearing of “Shrimp Brand Beers.” Always interesting to see how builders in the 19th/early 20th century had a certain expectation of the permanence of things when they put up a new building: “James Simpson, Attorney at Law” carved straight into the stone above the doorway, and so forth.

        These days every new building is made with the expectation that it will change hands several times, possibly within a couple years after the place has opened!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a brilliant point about expectation of permanence, Of course, the 21st century betting shops and discount stores businesses are quite happy to live in buildings engraved with lovely carving and put their own garish signing up next to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Mark,
        Yes, indeed, builders of the 19th/early 20th century had a certain expectation of the permanence of things when they put up a new building.
        But get to the 1960s and its not just the occupancy but some buildings themselves, including housing in Milton Keynes, that had no expectation of permanence.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thanks for the picture of the boat, Martin.

        “Channel Light Vessel Automatic” as they used to say – maybe still do – on the Radio Four small hours weather reports for shipping. I always wondered what one looked like!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Spoons nationally will let you take a Class 2 mobility scooter into the branch, but not a Class 3.

        For information :-

        Class 2 mobility scooters can only be used on the pavement and have a maximum speed of 4mph.

        Class 3 mobility scooters must be registered with DVLA and require road tax – they can travel up to 8mph, although must only be driven at 4mph on pavements.

        Bring back the Sinclair C5 !

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Not sure about that. What we could end up with are large city centre pubs – ‘Spoons branches and the like – and large food-led pubs such as Hungry Horse, as well as loads of micros. But nothing of medium size in the middle. The economies of large scale or small scale !


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