Saturday 25th June 2016
This pub was a long time coming but it was well worth the wait when it did. The story goes back to the autumn of 2014 when Phil Leader leased the premises with the hope that he would open it as a micropub by November of that year. There were quite a few setbacks on the way. The building had been used as a fast food shop and the operators of it had been disposing of their cooking waste products down the drain where they had solidified. It cost Phil a lot of time and money to rectify this problem.
There was a further delay as he dealt with family affairs and the pub finally opened its doors to the public on Saturday 4th April, although I understand it might have been in operation the night before, Good Friday. Everything was going well until the pub closed abruptly just over a week later on Wednesday 13 April. Apparently there was an issue regarding the premises licence.
However, all has been fine since Friday 23 December 2015 when the pub re-opened just in time for the Christmas / New Year period.
Phil runs the pub with his wife and son. I was with Linda when we visited and both came away very impressed. I cannot imagine what it looked like as a take-away, but it certainly looks superb now and you can tell a lot of work has gone into achieving its appearance.
Entering through the hanging string bead curtain, ideal in hot weather, we entered the room. This first thing we noticed were all the old enamel signs on the walls. The second thing we looked at was the beer list that was displayed on small blackboards hanging over the appropriate taps. After ordering a beer we had a closer look around.
We came through the corner door located on the right side of the pub. In the window area to our left there was a cushioned bench seat. There was another on the left hand wall with wooden tables in front of both of them.
The curved wooden bar has five tall cushioned chairs in front of it. This is a very small room and there is a shelf all the way down the left side that gives access to the toilet. Should you use the facilities, you will find a small seated area out the back with a bench and a shelf opposite the cool room.
The decorations gracing the walls are truly notable and mostly consist of a fine collection of historic enamel signs. French Burgundy wine, cigarettes, milk, lamp oil, “kola” and ginger beer are some of the many products that are advertised on them. There is a false ceiling cover of lattice wood which have a climbing plant on it. Is it a vine or an ivy or something similar? Notwithstanding, it is an attractive feature.
Beer is served from taps in the main room that are but a short distance from the casks that supply them. There is a false wooden wall and behind is cool room with the firkins on stillage. Phil showed us one of the plastic pipes that connect the supply to the dispense; it couldn’t be more than eighteen inches in length. Should you have the need to visit the facilities, the toilet can be reached by passing this glass-fronted “cellar”.
There were four beers offered when we called in. These were Siren Brewery (Finchampstead, Berkshire) Volume 4.0 Proteus Pale Ale (4.0%), Pig & Porter (Tunbridge Wells, Kent) Slow Black Stout (5.1%), and two from Dark Star (Partridge Green, West Sussex) Revelation (5.7%) and Hophead (3.8%).
Served by hand from the same cool room as the beers is a fine selection of ciders. When we visited they were: Orchard Pig (West Bradley, Somerset) Explorer (4.5%) and two from the excellent Broomfield Orchards (Broomfield, Kent): Dry (7.0%) and Apple & Pear (7.0%). Finally four from Kentish Pip (Bekesbourne, Kent): Craftsman (5.6%), Vintage (6.0%), Forager (Berries added) (4.0%) and Wild Summer (Elderflowers added) (4.0%).
A range of wines is offered, possibly greater than most micropubs, along with an extensive selection of Orchard Pig fruit juices as well as the well-known national brands. Packaged snacks such as crisps, peanuts and pork scratchings. Take-away beers are offered with a 15% discount.
This lovely little pub is well worth making a detour to visit should you be in the Thanet area.
The Tap Room, 4 Northdown Parade, Price’s Avenue, Cliftonville, Margate, Kent. CT9 2NR
Hours: Monday-Friday 12.00-15.00, 16.30-22.00; Saturday: 12.00-15.00, 16.30-23.00
The pub is a long walk from Margate station as it is over two miles from there. Yet it is well served by buses. The routes to use are 8, 8A, 8X, 33 and the loop. Alight at a stop in Northdown Road and you’ll find the pub easily in Price’s Avenue just off this main road.