Tuesday 30th April 2013
This pub is located in the St Peters district of Broadstairs which is on the opposite (west) side of the railway line to the town centre and harbour. It is the brainchild of Mike Beaumont. He is a former reporter who once did a story for a newspaper on the original micro pub, Martyn Hillier's Butcher's Arms in Herne. He was impressed by the simplicity of the whole operation and the seed was germinated. A few years later, here he is with his own version, and I must say that it is very close to the concept of the first micro pub.
The name has its own story, so please forgive me if you have heard this all before. It comes from a sketch in the BBC TV program "The Two Ronnies" starring Ronnie Corbett and Ronny Barker. The latter wrote it under the pseudonym Gerald Wiley in 1976. Very simply, it is about verbal misunderstandings.
At the beginning Barker walks in to a General and Hardware store and asks for "four candles" which are presented to him. He doesn't want them and after explaining he wants fork handles (handles for a fork); the assistant (Corbett) has to get him a handle for a (garden) fork. Next he wants a plug. When asked what sort, he says "rubber bathroom", Corbett comes back with a box of rubber bath plugs. When the customer is asked what size, he replies "13 Amp". Apparently he wants an insulated electrical plug for his bathroom. This goes on and on, with hoes being confused with hose and "O"s for a house sign, and many more.
Why is this connected with a micro pub in Broadstairs? Well, Corbett had a weekend home in the town, and Barker once visited and noticed the General Hardware shop of H.E. Harrington there and the sketch was born. The pub opened in August 2012 and has proved to be popular ever since. It is very small and is only slightly larger than the Butchers Arms.
Located on a corner, from the outside it looks as if it was once a pub, but this is not the case as it was a florists and delicatessen in its previous life. It really is small and it has high tables; no bar of course. There were three cask beers on offer and they were: Mat Cat (Faversham, Kent) Platinum Gold (4.2%); Williams Bros. (Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland) Gold (3.9%) and Goachers (Maidstone, Kent) Mild (3.4%).
Cider lovers are catered for with Biddenden Cider (8.0%) with Bushell's Medium (6.0%) and Dry (6.0%) from the same producer. Interestingly the wines were also from them with Dornfelder red and Ortega white (2011). Despite the proximity of vineyards to East Kent, this is the first Micro Pub I've come across that actually sells wines from the local estates. There was also Gribble Bridge Rosé (2011).
Tea and Coffee are also offered and sustenance is provided with the usual crisps, nuts and scratchings along with Pork Pies and Ashmore cheese and crackers.
So, this is a true Micro Pub, and should you be in Broadstairs during its opening hours, don't hesitate to visit.
The Four Candles, 1, Sowell Street, St Peters, Broadstairs, Kent. CT10 2AT
Tel: 07947 062063
Open: Monday to Thursday 17.00-22.30; Friday 17.00-23.30;
Saturday 12.00-23.30; Sunday 12.00-15.30, 18.00-22.30
It is around 10 to 15 minutes away from Broadstairs railway station which is served by two trains an hour from London Victoria via the North Kent Coast; one an hour from London Charing Cross via Ashford and Canterbury; also one an hour from London St Pancras via the High Speed Line, Ashford and Canterbury.
There are several bus stops around five minutes walk from the pub. Probably the most
useful is the "Loop" which is every 7 to 10 minutes during the week and every 10 minutes
on Sundays. The following other bus routes stop nearby: 8A, 9, 33 and 34.