Friday 5th February 2016
We have all read about the explosion in numbers of micropubs throughout the country and especially in heartland of that genre: East Kent. Whatever else they may sell, all of them offer cask ales. The Thirsty Scarecrow is no exception, yet it only serves one ale. What is does sell in quantity is cider and lots of it, with between 20 and 25 different varieties being available at any time, including perry of course.
The venture was inaugurated on 26th November in 2015 so hadn’t been open for long when myself and Linda crossed the threshold for our first visit. It is brainchild of Katy Tatham and partner Kieran Redmond, who was there that afternoon. With myself inside there were around half a dozen dedicated drinkers and yet....they weren’t even supposed to be open.
This is the second time this has occurred to myself and Linda this year alone. Kieran explained that he wasn’t going to open on this day until 16.00 because of the proximity of the CAMRA White Cliffs Winter Ales Festival. However a number of thirsty people had arrived outside the door so he took pity on them. Anyway they had all left just after 13.00, when the beer festival opened, so he was able to get there himself.
It is believed that this is the country’s first micropub dedicated to the cause of cider and perry. I feel it won’t be the last. They specialise in producers from Kent yet the rest of the country is not ignored.
The previous use of the property was as the Corner Café and the premises have been a café since the 1940s, some say even earlier. They have done a really job inside and out to provide a light and airy environment.
The inside is divided into two levels with the lower section being the most roomy. Four steps up and you face the service area and the entrance to the cool room. There is a lot of distressed wood amongst the rather eclectic décor.
On some of the walls there are tapestries depicting sunbursts. There’s a combination of wooden seats, plastic stools and some comfy armchairs so the furniture compliments the rest of the pub.
I presume this is deliberate, but they seem to be creating a 1960s feel to the place. There are those circular paper light shades and the wall-mounted clock is straight out of that era. Being old enough to remember those days I think they have done a very good job considering they are too young to have experienced those years. I just pray they don’t go too far and start burning incense sticks!
Also of note are the scarecrows, a male version in the main room and female one on the way to the facilities.
Linda didn’t stay too long as she had to get along to the Beer Festival where she was working behind the bar. Just before I left Katy arrived and that lead me on to another very unusual aspect of the pub, the Ladies’ Hairdressing Salon. It is at the back of the building and she takes customers by appointment only. I had a look at it and I can attest that it is the real deal.
I won’t list the ciders on offer as there are too many, a very happy situation. The sole cask beer was Hop Back (Downton, Wiltshire) Citra (4.0%). The pub serves wine and a selection of bottled beers. They also offer tea, coffee and hot chocolate along with soft drinks and juices. There are packaged snacks of the normal pub type. They have pickled eggs, also South African Biltong and Boerewors sausage.
This is a welcoming new outlet that compliments the other micropubs of Dover and shouldn’t be missed should you be in the town.
The Thirsty Scarecrow, 107 High Street, Dover CT16 1EB. Tel: 07454 934833
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12.00-23.00; Sunday 13.00-21.00
Monday Closed (Except Bank Holidays)
Dover Priory railway station is served by one Hi-speed train per hour from London St Pancras. There is also one slower train from London Charing Cross running via Tonbridge and Ashford. There are two trains per hour from London Victoria via Chatham and Faversham. Dover can also be approached from Deal, Ramsgate and Margate twice an hour. These frequencies apply to Monday to Saturday. Less frequent on Sunday.
The pub is about a half mile from Dover Priory station. From the station walk towards the town centre. At the first roundabout keep to the left, passing the Prince Albert and Old Town Hall on the right. You are now in High Street. Pass Iceland on your left and the Thirsty Scarecrow can be found shortly after.
There is a bus stop close by that is served by routes 15A, 15B, 60, 60A, 61, 62, 63 and 89.