Friday 25th March 2016
Margate is a town that has undergone quite a renaissance in recent years. Pivotal to its renewal has been the establishment of the Turner Contemporary Gallery. Obviously featuring the work of JMW Turner, who was a frequent visitor to the town, it also showcases many other artists’ works in a series of exhibitions. It is to be found near to the harbour and entrance is free.
So what better to do after a hard day’s canvas inspecting than to go for a pint. Here you are spoilt for choice. Why not walk along the adjacent Harbour Arm to find the quirky Harbour Arms? Or maybe take a few steps into the Old Town and visit the excellent Lifeboat? Possibly walk a short distance up the High Street and go in to the wonderfully over-the-top Fez?
All are micropubs and all are highly recommended. Of course it is perfectly possible to just walk a short distance down Marine Drive and call in to the Two Halves, yet another superb micropub. Apart from the obvious selling point of serving good beer, it offers similar seascape vistas as were witnessed by Turner himself. It is said that this is the best place to witness the spectacular sunsets that so inspired the artist. The pub is owned and operated by Shaun Smethers and opened to the public on 24th July 2015.
I visited on Good Friday, accompanied by fellow pub and beer aficionado Andrew; we had both been working earlier at the Planet Thanet Beer Festival. It was an unusually sunny day for March and our first impressions were very favourable.
The bar counter is at the back of the room and beyond that was an impressive glass-fronted cool room for the beer.
The walls are painted in a very light shade of grey, almost white. They are covered with a large amount of paintings and other art-works depicting the town. Around the room there is a convenient wooden shelf for placing glasses. Under this is wood panelling, the floor is also wooden. The furniture consists of grey painted chairs and seats with varnished wood tables. There are also some stools.
As could be expected we were met with a fine array of cask beers. These were: Oakham (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire) Inferno (4.0%); Fuzzy Duck (Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire) Cunning Stunt (4.3%); Canterbury Brewers (Chartham, Kent) Merchant’s Ale (4.0%) and finally, two from Tonbridge Brewery (East Peckham, Kent): Coppernob (3.8%) and Golden Rule (3.5%).
There was an even greater range of real ciders and perries: Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales) Autumn Magic (4.0%) and Scrumpy (5.3%). Then there was Weston’s (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Wyld Wood (6.0%); Rosie’s Pig (4.8%); Country Perry (4.5%); Old Rosie with Elderflower (4.0%) and Raspberry Twist (4.0%). From the local Kent Cider Co (Oare, Kent) we could have had Damson Cider (5.0%), Vimto Cider (5.5%); Strawberry Cider (6.0%) and Toffee Apple Cider (6.0%).
The pub is dog-friendly and they also serve wines, along with soft drinks and coffee. They also offer crisps and filled rolls. It’s a great pub to visit along with the other attractions of Margate.
The Two Halves, 2 Marine Drive, Margate, Kent. CT9 1DH. Tel: 07538 771904
Hours: Monday-Thursday 15.00-22.30; Friday-Sunday 12.00-22.30
The pub is situated on Marine Drive opposite the Harbour.
It short walk from Cecil Square where most of the bus routes arrive and depart.
However the 56 route does run along Marine Drive.
Margate railway station has trains to and from London St Pancras (two routes) and London Victoria. The station is around three-quarters of a mile (1 km) from the pub.
From the station front bear right and walk down to the roundabout. Continue along the Promenade passing the Mechanical Elephant pub on your right. At the Clock Tower bear left along Marine Drive and the pub is on the right, over a pedestrian crossing.