Thursday 7th May 2015
The Compass is a very likeable little pub and the beer-lovers of Gravesend certainly agree, as it has become very popular in the town. It was founded by two couples: Charlie Venner and Caroline Stroud along with John Warden and Rachel Roland. Charlie and Caroline worked previously in the NHS and John was an occupational therapist, so he should be able to assess whether this was a good career change!
I had been meaning to visit the pub for some time and on this occasion I was on my way to London City Airport so had luggage with me. First impressions were good as I was greeted and my order was taken straight away.
There is no bar counter here and the man serving me disappeared out to a cool room at the rear to collect my beer. There were four customers in the pub and they all appeared to be regular visitors.
Looking around I could see that there was a fitted wooden bench around three sides of the room. This has been partially made from old church pews. Facing the benches are tall wooden tables.
The walls are painted white and there were some old framed maps hanging there along with the menu blackboards. Obviously the pub’s name is a clue to the maps being there.
A nice touch was the wooden bookcase that held a number of CAMRA magazines and more maps. These were of the folding variety. There is an additional drinking area near to the cool room and there’s a door that leads to a fenced outside area.
A surprise visitor was Peter Meaney from the Mad Cat Brewery from Brogdale, near Faversham who was interesting the pub into ordering some of his beers.
The premises were once a dairy and in more recent years housed an Estate Agent. The location is very good for the town centre and railway station, both being less than five minutes walk from the pub.
The pub is very dog friendly and there is a bowl of water for them. In fact three canines featured in an initial publicity photo for the opening. It showed them sitting on the bench seats each with a (mostly finished) pint on the table in front of them!
There are normally three beers on at a time. These are resourced from all over the country. When I called in they were: Dark Star (Partridge Green, West Sussex) Summer Meltdown (4.8%) and two from the Bristol Beer Factory (Ashton Gate, Bristol) Nova (3.8%) and Milk Stout (4.5%).
There is a blackboard displaying the beers to come. Beers can be ordered in three one third of a pint glasses. Their pint glasses are lined and carry-out draught beer is available. They also have a selection of bottled beer.
They had three ciders: Kentish Pip (Bekesbourne, Kent) Vintage Pip (5.8%); Kent Cider Co (Oare, Kent) Pear (6.0%) and Weston’s (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Raspberry Twist (4.0%). Wine is available by the glass or bottle. The also sell very posh artisan gins and Fentiman’s soft drinks and mixers. The usual packets of crisps, nuts, etc., are offered.
This is a fine little local and you should call in if you are in this part of North-East Kent.
The Compass Alehouse, 7 Manor Road, Gravesend, Kent. DA12 1AA. Tel: 07873 918545
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 17.00-21.00; Thursday 12.00-14.00, 17.00-21.00;
Friday 12.00-14.00, 17.00-22.00; Saturday 12.00-22.00; Sunday 13.00-16.00.
As said previously the pub is close to many bus routes that operate through the town centre.
Gravesend railway station is served by South Eastern Trains. It’s on the High Speed route from London St Pancras that goes on to Chatham, Faversham and Ramsgate. There are local trains from London Charing Cross via Woolwich and Dartford that go to Gillingham.
To walk from the station make sure you exit on the town centre side and immediately turn right. At the road Junction at the top you keep going along Railway Place. At the next junction continue in the same direction along Manor Road. The pub is on the left.