Saturday 25th June 2016
Quite a long time had elapsed from this pub’s opening date until this visit, something I regret. Yet, eventually I got round to calling into this award-winning micropub. The opportunity had arisen as Linda had an appointment in Walmer and it wasn’t too much of a diversion to call in here on the way. Whilst we were in the Yard of Ale there was thunder, lightning, heavy rain and finally, sunshine.
The pub is the brainchild of Ian Noble who joined forces with Shawn Galver to open it. Ian works for his family’s company, Noble’s Funeral Directors, who own the property. The building dates from the 1800s and was once the stables for the horses that drew the hearses and carriages back then. This is a clue to the name of the pub. To provide a link with this past purpose, there is often hay on the floor and when we visited there were a couple of bales against the wall providing a makeshift seat.
The pub opened its doors to the public on Good Friday 18th April 2014 following an invitation-only preview the previous evening. The entrance is in the apex of the junction of Church Street and Northdown Road just down from St Peter’s church. The entrance gates are surmounted by a distinctive wrought iron arch depicting the pub’s name. The walls and the building itself are constructed in flint stone and it looks good.
We went down the short slope to a wicket fence which has a gate that was opened by a garden gate-type latch.
There are five wooden bench seat-tables of the sort found in pub gardens. About half of the yard is covered with wooden decking and there is a large awning partially covering it; definitely needed on this day!
There is a half door to the serving area inside, negating the need to enter the pub if you stay outside. It’s odd to think that for almost a hundred years a real live horse’s head would have occupied this opening!
The next wooden door along provide access to the interior. There is quite a lot to take in.
The service area is on the right of the room. There is no bar counter as such but the beer is placed on a flat surface for you to take to your seat. Behind the entrance you order your beer from there is a sink and washing up area. To the left is a large wooden cool cabinet. This has two large sliding glass panels that enable the server to get to the beers and ciders.
The interior is very rustic and moving anti-clockwise around the room we pass first the door to the toilet in the right corner. Then there is a hay bale which could be used to sit on. The main part of the space is taken up an arrangement of interconnecting high narrow tables with tall stools in front of them. In the left corner is an L-shaped bench seat with a round wooden table and low stools.
Going further around the room, the wall to the left is home to the multitude of framed CAMRA awards that the pub has won. Then there is an old iron stove and its stack of wood. Facing in from the yard is another bench seat with table and stools. The ceiling is covered with hop bines and pump clips of beers we have missed. The floor is of stone cobbles strewn with hay.
There are normally four cask beers on offer and when we visited they were: Rudgate (Tockwith, North Yorkshire) Viking (3.8%); Burning Sky (Firle, East Sussex) Aurora (5.6%); Ramsgate Brewery Gadd’s Seasider (4.3%) and Titanic (Burslem, Staffordshire) Plum Porter (4.9%).
Usually six ciders and perries are offered and they were: Lilley’s (Frome, Somerset) Crazy Goat Cider and their Rum Cider (4.0%); Celtic Marches Lily the Pink (4.5%) and Thundering Molly (5.2%); Weston’s (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Old Rosie (7.3%) and finally 146 Cider (Southampton, Hampshire) Hampshire Perry (3.8%).
Other drinks available are wines of various types including Prosecco, also lemonades, mineral water, orange/apple juice, teas and coffees. To eat are pork pies, pickled eggs, cheese boards, crisps, scratchings and chocolate confections.
During 2015 it was Thanet CAMRA Pub of the Year, then CAMRA East Kent Pub of the Year, followed up by being CAMRA Kent Pub of the Year. It didn’t stop there as it went on to be Pub of the Year for Kent, Sussex and Surrey. After, it went even further in CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year competition to get to the last four in the country. Sadly, that was it, as another pub won the contest. However these wins provide many reasons to visit, and you should.
The Yard of Ale, 61 Church Street, St Peters, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 2TU
Tel: 07790 730205
Hours: Monday-Friday 17.00-23.00; Saturday-Sunday 12.00-23.00
Railway Bridge in both directions is the bus stop for the pub.
You need to walk a few metres to Church Street.
Turn left into it and walk about a hundred metres and you will find the pub on the right.
The routes 8A/8X goes to Broadstairs in one direction and in the other it serves Margate centre and stops close to the railway station.
The LOOP serves Margate centre, Broadstairs station and Ramsgate station.