Saturday 1st February 2014
The Heritage is another new micro pub opened in East Kent, where it all started. It is to be found at Halfway, also known as Halfway Houses, which is more or less halfway between Sheerness and Minster. It is also about halfway between these towns and Queenborough. There's always been a pub, the Halfway House, around 50 metres from the latest pub, on the other side of a road junction. That's Halfway mentioned 5 times in one paragraph!
It opened its doors on Friday 24th January, just over a week before my visit. The Heritage occupies the site of the former Post Office. The pub is the brainchild of Melvin and Margaret Hopper. Melvin had the idea for a micro pub for around two years before finding suitable premises here at Halfway. Having secured the lease the pub opened in record quick time, the fastest I have seen, anyway.
Melvin was a police officer and Margaret taught children in a primary school, and they have both given up these jobs to pursue their dream. As I entered I was greeted by Margaret who was soon joined by husband Melvin as I was followed in by a rep from a beer wholesaler.
I had a glance around the room and noted the layout. On the right side of the front door there were four varnished wood high tables. Their seating was of the bench type finished in the same style built into the walls, including that by the window.
To the left of the entrance on a slightly higher level, there are further two tables with loose seating and what looks like a former corner church pew. There is a small bar; many micro pubs don't have one as their service is to the table. A nice touch is the recessed shelves that hold the sparkling glasses that await filling. The facilities are through a door opposite the entrance.
Behind the bar you can see the casks of beer wearing their cooling jackets. Melvin has decided to go down this route rather than having a separate cool room. The rather unusual name of the pub comes about because Margaret is related to the family that owned the erstwhile Charrington's Brewery. This is reflected (literally!) in the magnificent brewery mirror on the end wall near the bar.
The three beers offered when I visited and they were: Millis (South Darenth, Kent) Gravesend Guzzler (3.7%), Ramsgate Brewery (Broadstairs, Kent) Gadd's No 5 (4.6%) and Mad Cat (Faversham) Jet Black Stout (4.5%). A development since I visited is that the pub now has a house beer. I thought it rather surprising that it came from the Black Tap Brewery of Stafford. However, it transpires that owner Chris Roberts often visits relatives in Sheerness so distribution is no problem. This beer is Sheppey Heritage (3.7%).
For cider fans there was Biddenden Bushel's Cider (6.0%) and they also had their bottled Spiced Cider (7.5%) There are fruit juices, soft drinks and bottled water. They also have tea and coffee. Wine is available and I thought that the prices were very reasonable. Items to eat are limited to crisps, nuts, pork scratchings along with pickled eggs and onions.
This is a nice friendly pub in an area that certainly needs it.
The Heritage, 17-19 Minster Road, Halfway, Sheppey, Kent ME12 3JE. Tel: 07984 167216
Open: Tuesday-Thursday 16.00-21.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-23.00; Sunday 12.00-20.00. Monday: Closed.
The pub can be reached by bus from Maidstone and Sittingbourne by the route 334, hourly Monday to Saturday, two hourly on Sundays, not in the evenings.
Local buses 360, 362 and 363 connect various towns on the Isle of Sheppey, every 30 minutes during the day Monday to Saturdays, more infrequent in the evenings and Sundays.