Friday 7th February 2014
It had taken me over a year to get round to visiting this micropub as it opened in November 2012. However, I eventually made it and I thought it was a very good example of the genre. It was formerly a hairdresser's salon although I wouldn't have guessed that as I stepped over the threshold at opening time.
It has a slightly different layout to most of the others as this shop was quite wide so there isn't so much depth yet there is enough room for three tables on the on each side of the door. These are tall with similarly sized chairs to match.
In the middle of the room there is an upturned barrel that acts as a further resting place for beer. The walls are white with a few reproductions of townscapes and other paintings hanging on them.
The cool room is at the rear and can be observed from the main room through an internal window. The service is at the table and owner Neil was doing the honours. He has considerable experience of the pub industry as, although he is a chef by trade, he has managed Wetherspoon's pubs in Canterbury and Ashford.
From them he went to be the licensee of the Telegraph in Deal, a Shepherd Neame pub. Whilst he was there he visited the Just Reproach, the town's micropub and he knew what he wanted in the pub trade and thus the Firkin Ale House was born. Like nearly all of them this micropub is devoid of music, machines and is a zero-tolerance policy on mobile phones. You are asked to switch them off or put them on silent mode. Should a phone ring in the pub Neil will approach the offender rattling his charity collection tin.
The beer choice leans heavily towards Kentish breweries, no bad thing, with the occasional beer from outside of the county. When I visited the beer selection was: Goacher's (Maidstone, Kent) Real Mild (3.4%); Kent Brewery (Birling, Kent) Session Pale (3.7%); Old Dairy (Rolvenden, Kent) Silver Top (4.5%) and XT (Long Crendon, Bucks) 6 Rich Ruby (4.5%).
On the "coming soon" list were beers from Hop Fuzz (Hythe, Kent), Tonbridge Brewery (Tudeley, Kent) and Burning Sky (Firle, East Sussex).
Ciders were as follows: Kent Cider Co (Canterbury, Kent) Henderson's Toffee Apple Cider (6.0%) and their Henderson's Spiced Cider (5.0%); Dudda's Tun (Doddington, Kent) Disco Dudda's Cider (5.3%) and Cheery Old Dudda's Cherry Cider (5.0%).
Snacks consist of Crisps, nuts, pickled eggs / onions and pork scratchings. This is a great little micropub and you must visit if you are in the area.
The Firkin Ale House, 18 Cheriton Place, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2AZ. Tel: 07894068432.
Open: Tuesday-Thursday 12.00-21.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-22.00; Sunday 12.00-16.00. Monday: Closed.
From Folkestone railway station turn right out of the exit and turn right again under the railway bridge. You are in Cheriton Road. Go to the first junction and continue along the same road to the next junction. Cross to the other side and the road opposite is Cheriton Gardens. At the end of this road there is a roundabout. Directly opposite is Cheriton Place. The Firkin Ale House is short distance along, on the left. Look for the hanging yellow barrel.
Folkestone station has an hourly service via HiSpeed train to and from London St Pancras. There are a further two trains (slower) an hour to and from London Charing Cross. In the other direction the trains run via the coast to Ramsgate.