A Small Pub with a Big Atmosphere
Small really is beautiful when it comes to this week's favourite virtual tour in the seaside town of Whitstable on the North coast of Kent.
Set amongst the rows of businesses in the centre of the town, the frontage could almost be that of a small antique shop. The decorative paintings on the wall above, however, hint that this is something rather more unusual.
Welcome to The Black Dog; a one-room public house, otherwise known as a micropub.
Consisting of small freehouses, micropubs serve mainly cask ales and other beers not often found in bigger pubs, accompanied by traditional snacks like scotch eggs and sausage rolls, rather than more modern pub grub.
Resisting the electronic entertainment of big screens and loud music that's found in modern bars, micropubs have reinvented the classic pub offering, encouraging the enjoyment of real ales and real conversation instead - "Beer and chat houses", as owner of The Black Dog, Mike, sums it up.
It's a relatively new concept; the first micropub opened in 2005 after a licensing law shakeup made the process of selling alcohol simpler. And the trend is growing, with numbers steadily increasing to more than 200 across the UK presently.
Trinkets & Treasures
The Black Dog is both quirky and traditional inside. For a small space, it holds a veritable hoard of Victorian treasures and trinkets. A hotch-potch collection of antique pictures and mirrors, stuffed animals, books, Toby jugs, foreign souvenirs, and more, cover the walls and bar area.
In true Victorian style, the venue is decorated in deep reds and greens, dimly and atmospherically lit with old fashioned wall lamps and ceiling chandeliers.
Barrels of Beer
There's a line-up of real ales and ciders from local and regional microbreweries at the bar and, if you continue the virtual tour past this, you can see the current selection of beers being dispensed in time-honoured method from barrels in the cellar room behind.
Carrying on through the compact kitchen area beyond - and proving that no area is out of bounds in The Black Dog - the tour finishes in the loo at the far end of the building. With every possible surface covered with yet more antique novelties, it comes complete with an innovative toilet roll holder above the seat.
The Black Dog is a fascinating portal back to Victorian Britain. An unconventional and eccentric venue full of character, collectables, and an ambience which pulls you in and is likely to keep you there far longer than you intended.
Just like the best parties which end up in the kitchen, it's a wonderful example of how the biggest atmosphere can frequently be found in the smallest space.
Find The Black Dog micropub at 66 High Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1BB. You can also follow them on Facebook
Date: 25 March 2016
Author: The 360 Company