I was hoping to persuade Kentish Paul to book a weekend away in the Medway Towns if/when the Lockdown is lifted. A man can get bored of Tonbridge, and needs his sea air.
The main towns are, from west to east: Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, and Rainham. Five stations too, though of course it’s always more fun walking through industrial estates and McDonalds drive-throughs.
Sadly, my blog only gives me enough material for one highlights post for all five. Whether that’s because it’s nothing much changes, or they’re all micropubs, who can say.
Talking of micros.
The 10:50 From Victoria is a little slice of South-East London pub life underneath the arches.
Perhaps the best micropub beer garden in the Guide,and certainly the only thing I can tell you about Strood.
Rochester deserves its own post, but it’s a decade since I did it justice.
A marvellously Dickensian High Street, Proper Church, artisan cheese, robust free houses to match Gravesend, and loads of ‘istree.
The Flippin’ Frog had interesting bar meals, toilet humour,
and two locals desperate to be in my shot (😊) and talk about new micros (😕).
Chatham is in the news again today for the wrong reasons, I see. It’s a scruffy gem, and you know how much Mrs RM and I love our scruffy gems.
James considered coming to Uni here, but somehow Sheffield came out top. Beer is a few pence cheaper, I guess. The recent closure of infamous Dickens World may also have influenced his decision.
If you’re walking, you’ll notice how hilly it is. Think of those calf muscles.
Long-standing GBG “Proper Pub” the King George V is actually in Brompton, a controversial stand-in for the Brompton in West London in the film “Notting Hill”.
Tellingly, the 2 recent Guide entries are a Stonegate and Spoons, growling at each other from across the road. I loved the Prince of Wales, now improved by CAMRA discount in the Stonegate chain.
A lively pub, exemplified by one overhead line;
“Can I see your giant sausage ?”
No giant sausages in the Spoons, but some duff beer, weird cider dispense and some proper hats.
Talking of heads;
The best known of the Medway 5 due to famed Gills fanzine Brian Moore’s Head Looks Uncannily Like London Planetarium,
“For many years it’s offered lower league fans a reliable pre-match back street crawl – Will Adams, Dog & Bone, Frog & Toad and the Barge. All good free houses meeting the 1974 Beer Guide definition of a working-man’s pub. “
I found a more bucolic Gillingham on my last visit, and I’ll bet that Lockdown has seen the return of nature to the streets.
Talking of which, back in 2016
“I took a look at The Barge (closed lunchtime) for old times sake; it is the only pub where I have been attacked by a sheep, which was still safer than Paul’s kebabs on the Strand.”
Which brings us to our finale.
Seemingly a one street town of discount shops, vaping stores and micros, which means it knows its audience.
If you’re looking for an authentic “micro pub experience“, this is for you. If nothing else, a good place to stock up on those CAMRA magazines, Dave.
Grief, I’m suddenly missing pubs. Even micros.