Wednesday 23rd September 2015
Should you visit Hythe you may find the Potting Shed a little difficult to find as the only outside indication on the building is the name etched on the window. There are no written or hanging signs.
However the location is good, at the eastern end of the High Street of this small Kentish town, once the home of the well-known Mackeson Brewery.
The premises were last in use as a café known as the Little Bistro. The high counter that served that business has been retained in the new micropub. It opened on the 12th September 2014, so was just past its first birthday when myself and Linda visited. The opening ceremony had been attended by the local MP Damian Collins and Mayor Alan Smith.
The pub is the idea of Peter Dorman who we met when we called in on this midweek afternoon. He and his wife Belinda had operated pubs in the area previously, albeit of the more conventional type. His last house was the Botoph’s Bridge Inn in West Hythe which has a fascinating history which I would love to expand on but I won’t digress. The couple were there from 2005 to 2014. Prior to that they ran the Britannia Inn at Seabrook, just north of Hythe.
The pub’s building is Grade II listed. At first I thought this a little strange but when I looked at the exterior photograph I could see is was quite ancient being partially built of stone and it also has some very old brickwork. The shop front seems to have been a later addition. The entrance is via a corner door.
Once inside we could see that the predominant colour is green with some floral wallpaper reminiscent of the 1960s and two shades of paint on the walls.
By the double window on the High Street side there is a large table and chairs along with a shelf along the wall for some upright drinking.
On the opposite side of the room are two smaller tables and in front of the bar counter are a few stalls and that’s all the room used.
Behind the high counter is the stillage with casks that have cool jackets; there is no separate cooling system apart from this. One beer is always provided via hand pump, the others straight from the cask. On the wall is a blackboard that advertises all of the month’s beers.
Another gives details of the rather extensive wine list. Peter explained that the pub was used after people had finished work and a number of these were ladies that liked wine. He said they liked the safe environment the pub provided.
When we called in the beer list consisted Hop Fuzz (West Hythe, Kent) Yellow Zinger (3.7%), Longman (Litlington, East Sussex) Best Bitter (4.0%), Gadd’s (Ramsgate) No 5 (4.4%) and Dark Star (Partridge Green, West Sussex) Hophead (3.8%). There is always a beer from the very local Hop Fuzz brewery.
For cider lovers there was Weston’s (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Henry Weston’s Family Reserve (5.0%) and their Rhubarb cider (4.0%). Peter kindly gave Linda a sample of this and she pronounced it as acceptable.
Only small snacks of the packaged variety are offered; there is no other food. This is a nice little pub with a good range of beers; it comes recommended.
The Potting Shed, 160A High Street, Hythe, Kent CT21 5JR. Tel: 07780 877226
Open: Tuesday 12.00-18.00; Wednesday-Thursday 12.00-19.00;
Friday-Saturday 12.00-21.00; Sunday 12.00-16.00. Monday: Closed
The nearest railway station is Sandling, around two miles away. It’s a nice walk, passing Saltwood Castle. I did it several times in my younger days.
However now I arrive in Hythe on a bus. There are several that can be used, coming from Ashford, Folkestone and other places. Routes serving the town are 10, 10A, 16, 18, 19, 100, 101, 102 and 160. I found the number 16 to be very useful as it runs every half hour Monday to Sunday and calls at Sandgate and Folkestone both locations of other micropubs.
It also calls at Folkestone Central railway station on its way to and from Canterbury.