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Pub Visit - England

Firkin Frog 1Thursday 6th June 2013

Bob Thompson

This pleasant little boozer can claim to be the first micro pub in Herne Bay. Yet, by only be a couple of weeks or so! It opened on 23rd April 2013, about six weeks before our visit. About half a mile away in an easterly direction along the High Street the town's other micro pub, the Bouncing Barrel, welcomed its first customer on 4th May 2013. It is difficult to imagine going from scraping around this town for a decent beer one week and then, just two weeks later you are spoiled for choice. Well, that truly is the micro pub effect.

The pub is housed in what was Steve's Kitchen Showroom. Owner Steve Chandler was another person bitten by the micro pub bug. Martyn Hillier's original creation, the Butcher's Arms, is in Herne, very close by. Steve was joined in the venture by Mark Parker, with whom he was in business previously.

The new pub was opened by Shaun Williamson, the actor who played Barry Evans, a well-know character from the Eastenders soap opera on BBC 1 television. We have seen Shaun in a few local watering holes over the years so we know that he is a supporter of our local community pubs and are very grateful for this. I was with wife Linda when we visited.

Firkin Frog 2The pub is just off Herne Bay's High Street and the pub has a large glass frontage that catches the sun well at lunchtimes.

Inside it is more or less what you'd expect, yet with a few variations on the theme. Near the window at the front there are a couple of wooden tables with bench seating around the walls facing in to the pub. There are loose chairs facing the outside world.

On the right hand side there is a high table with matching seats. Continuing along the wall there is a long shelf and several high chairs that are opposite the wall of the cool room. On the left is the bar with three or four high chairs around it. Naturally you would order a beer here and one of the two mine hosts will go to the glass fronted cool room to get your amber (or possibly dark) nectar.

Firkin Frog 3The ceiling has one of the most interesting facets of the pub as it is entirely draped with flags and pennants. These are very colourful and impart a cheerful aspect to the room. Beyond the cool room there is a rather surprising room on the left. It is very traditional with a lovely fireplace with tiles up its side. This room is in complete contrast to that at the front and would make a nice venue for a small meeting. There is the usual unisex toilet at the far end of the pub.

There are always three to four beers offered and when we called in the following were on sale: Spencer's (Ashford, Kent) and from Goody's (Herne Common, Kent) there was Good Heavens (4.1%) and Genesis (3.5%). They also serve ciders and had these: Weston's (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) 1st Quality Cider (5.0%) and 1st Quality Blush (Raspberry) Cider (4.0%). They also had Rough Old Wife (Old Wives Leas, Kent) Tasty Old Wife (6.0%).

They also sell wine by the glass or bottle and many soft drinks and juices along with coffee. They also offer a selection of ports. To eat there is a cheese board along with pork pies and scotch eggs as well as cheese biscuits, crisps, nuts and pork scratchings.

This is a great little pub that shouldn't be missed if you are in the area.

Important Information:

The Firkin Frog, 157 Station Road, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5QA. Tel: 01227 361555

Open: Tuesday-Sunday 12.00-15.00, 17.00-21.00. Monday: Closed.

Although the pub is in Station Road it is 10 to 15 minutes walk from the station. Don't believe the pub's website on this point as it seems to be written by somebody who has only ever driven between the two.

The station has trains to and from London Victoria that run via the Medway towns and the North Kent coast. They start / finish at Ramsgate. The frequency is twice hourly Monday to Saturday and hourly on Sunday.

There are several buses but the best are the 4 and 6, branded as the "Triangle" and the stops are outside. They start and finish in Canterbury and operate via Whitstable, Tankerton and Herne, passing no less than four other micro pubs en route.
They operate a 10 minute frequency through most of the day Monday to Saturday and every 15 minutes on Sundays.