05 June 2016


It was nice to get a room with a view of the bay at the Margate Premier Inn for our first visit to the town (Thursday 28 April - Saturday 30 April). Situated near the railway station and with a free car park, the hotel is convenient for both rail travellers and motorists. We had driven from Hastings via Rye and Canterbury.
This visit was about culture as well as beer so the Turner Contemporary was our first destination.
Turner Contemporary & Visitor Information Centre
With free admission and located on the site where Joseph Mallord William Turner used to stay when he visited the town on a steamer from London, a visit to the world-class art gallery should not be missed. The gallery cafe overlooking the bay is also recommended.
 A walk along the elevated harbour walkway took us to the end where there are steps down to the access road running past the sheltered units looking back at the town.

The Harbour Arms

The Harbour Arms is located in one of these units and is open all day so we were able to find our first beer in the appropriately nautical surroundings.
Seating outside must get well used in summer months but we stayed inside on this occasion and enjoyed the variety of furnishings and decor.
Originally, two fishermen's sheds, the micropub was opened by Carole Lane in May 2013. We chatted with Tony at the bar who moved to Margate from Northumberland three years previously. He told us that it was the 25th micropub to open in the country and there is a music jam night on Mondays.
There is a flat rate pricing system with all ciders and ales at £3.20 pint. I enjoyed half pints of G2 Brewing (Ashford, Kent) Otava IPA 4.4% ABV and Caveman Brewery (Swanscombe, Kent) Shatkora 5.5% ABV with lime and ginger notes. 
There is a good view of the town from the harbour arm with the Turner Contemporary on the left (east) and Arlington House, an 18 storey tower block, on the right (west).

Lifeboat Ale and Cider House

Previously a winebar, the Lifeboat Ale and Cider House at 1 Market Street was established in May 2010.
Lifeboat Ale & Cider House is the corner building at far right of Market Place
We visited the small pub, perhaps a micropub, on a Thursday lunchtime. Sawdust on the wooden floorboards is one of the first things to notice on entering the Lifeboat.
There is a small bar in the front room with wooden stools for customers.
Beer orders are met by a visit to the cooled casks on a wooden stillage wall which separates the front room from an area behind where ciders are also kept.
This was a good opportunity to sample The Ramsgate Brewery Gadds' No 7, a Kentish pale bitter ale.
Some historical pictures and posters on the walls included one for Cobb & Co's Margate Ales. Whitbread acquired the brewery in 1968 and closed it the same year.
We would visit the Lifeboat's sister pub, the Chapel, in Broadstairs later in the day.



Philip Evans is the man behind the Fez micropub in Margate, which opened in December 2015. If you are lucky you will find him wearing a fez!
As soon as we walked inside I knew this would be my ideal local pub. Located at 40 High Street, it is just behind Marine Drive on the sea front and next to the Bay Restaurant & Bar of the Sands Hotel.
The golden Bass sign in the front side window caught Martin Taylor's eye after it was featured in a tweet but my fellow beer blogger was disappointed to discover that the micropub does not actually serve Bass.
However it does serve a fine selection of changing ales sourced from AVS Wines & Beers Ltd of Gravesend, Kent. Beers and Ciders were only £3 pint (April 2016).
I enjoyed a half pint of Tonbridge Brewery Golden Rule. Other beers were from Grafton Brewing Ltd (Worksop) and Acorn Brewery (Barnsley).
Some of the seating is at ground level. A stereogram is inside one bay window and Phil has a collection of LPs dating from the 1960s to play on it.
Phil reading 'Ullage' from a raised seat in the Fez
Storage space underneath is created by having platforms for raised seating on both sides of the room. This also has the advantage for conversations that people standing in the middle of the room are at a similar height to those seated on the sides.
View from raised seat at a high table
Candles are lit at dusk. There are also fairy lights and various illuminated signs.
You'll find the toilet behind the door with a 'Sprinkler Stop Valve' sign underneath the large Ansell's sign. A red or green light above the door indicates whether it is currently occupied or not.
The antique cash register atop the fairground style bar cannot process payment cards so bring cash to the Fez to avoid disappointment.
Permanent wave machine
Any lover of kitsch will enjoy the surroundings. As well as brewery paraphernalia and fez related items there are a number of unusual objects on display. Phil has a background in design and was happy to answer questions about these including a machine once used by hairdressers for giving a 'perm'.
Art by Angela Malone
Phil supports local artists and during our visit there were artworks by Angela Malone on display.
Meg didn't find it easy to get me out of the Fez but the promise of a return visit the next day did the trick.
The Friday visit was at lunchtime when there were fewer people in the micropub than on the  Thursday evening and we had a chance to chat with Phil and enjoy a personal demonstration of the stereogram in it's expanded glory.
After an afternon visit to Broadstairs we eventually returned to the Fez for a third and final visit on the Friday night when the subdued lighting transformed the look of the interior. It was a relief to find the micropub undamaged after worries about smoke, possibly from building work below, earlier in the day.
The beer range had changed and Rooster's Brewing Co (Knaresborough) Buckeye and Pig & Porter (Tunbridge Wells) Dance First Stout were now listed. Both beers were sampled and found to be in superb condition.
After the closing bell was rung at 10.30pm it was sadly time to leave Fez for the third and last time.
I look forward to a return visit to the Fez, in my opinion a good enough reason on its own to visit Margate.
The Tudor House, Margate
There are further reasons to visit Margate though, including Vortigern Gallery, the Shell Grotto and the Tudor House. There are also other good pubs and micropubs to visit in Margate and neighbouring Westgate-on-Sea so a return visit will be made sooner rather than later.

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