Friday 9th October 2015
Every micropub is different and although several follow a recognisable format, others are just downright quirky. The Black Dog in Whitstable is one of these because of its rather strange décor. I think that the Firkin Shed is also one, not least because the guv’nor has a blue beard. It’s a very likeable pub with a good atmosphere yet is definitely different!
It is the brainchild of Paul Grey who once studied Fine Arts at Bournemouth Arts University. He constructed the interior of the pub which is housed in what was once a Blockbuster DVD rental store. Some of the materials used were rescued from skips.
Paul says he regards the pub interior as being like an art installation and it certainly is a bit different, in a very nice way! He is assisted in the operation of the pub by his daughters Ruby and Amber.
As you enter you have to be careful not to bump into Egor (sic) (see photo, below), the pub’s “meeter and greeter” who stands just inside the door, welcoming (?) visitors. I thought he looked a little pale and maybe should see his doctor. The largest area is to the left of the entrance door and down the wall are fitted wooden benches, the tops of which are pews from an old Welsh church. There are five of these in all in the whole pub.
They face tall tables that have stools on their outer sides. I settled at a tall table to the right of the room and went to look at the blackboard that had the beer list.
The walls are painted in blue-green colour and are mostly covered with some artworks, abstract paintings, posters with the spaces in between decorated with pump clips. There is a piano just before you reach the bar counter. I understand it is usable and is sometimes played.
The bar is interesting as it actually resembles a shed and has a small tiled “roof”. Most of the construction is of old reclaimed wooden doors. Facing out towards the room are some stained-glass windows, no doubt recovered from a skip.
On the ceiling I noticed a strange map of the world based on a rather strange projection. I have no doubt it becomes more intelligible as the evening wears on.
On the wall on the left side of the room the two words “Blues” and “Rock” are emblazoned. This is a little odd as the only music is supposed to be acoustic on some Thursday nights.
The floors are wooden and as I went to take a photograph of Egor I noticed a very strange blue guitar hanging from above. It’s funny, as the more I looked, the more I discovered.
They offer six different cask beers and on that day they were: Mad Dog Brew (Penperlleni, Monmouthshire) Kamikaze IPA (7.4%); Burning Sky (Firle, East Sussex) Aurora (5.6%); Moor (Bristol) Nor’ Hop (4.1%); Glastonbury Ales (Somerton, Somerset) Cold Gold (4.0%); Saltaire (Shipley, West Yorkshire) Triple Chocoholic Stout (4.8%) and Downton Brewery (Downton, Wiltshire) Chocolate Orange Delight (5.8%).
These beers are served direct from the cask from the cold room which is located behind the “shed”. They have up 20 ciders and perries on at any time. That’s too many to list, even if I had taken note of them. Food available when I was there consisted of Sausage Rolls, Scotch Eggs, Pork Pies and Cheese & Onion Pasties. There is also a very wide range of packaged snacks, crisps and the like.
This pub is very accessible by public transport, see below. So you should call in if you are in the area.
The Firkin Shed, 279 Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth BH8 8BZ. Tel: 01202 302340
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 17.00-23.00; Thursday-Saturday 12.00-23.00;
The No 2 bus stops close by, about 50 metres from the pub’s door.
This route has the benefit of passing Bournemouth Central station on its way from the town centre. There is a further advantage as this route continues to Pokesdown railway station.
It is possible to change here on to the IC, M2 or 33 routes that take you to the Wight Bear Ale House, Bournemouth’s other micropub.