One of the delights of recent times has been the emergence of the micropub, a small, usually one-roomed independent pub focusing on real ale.
They’ve only been around as a model for less than 20 years but I now see them all over the place – on a recent trip to Kent I saw three of them in one high street.
It’s not hard to see why there has been a growth in these curious places – they don’t require much space, they can be set up in virtually any empty shop and suppliers are likely to be local.
They are popular enough, but I don’t know why they aren’t more popular still.
Take The Golden Ark in Selsdon, where I supped a few pints recently. You could easily miss it, nestled in between two non-descript shops in a high street.
As you walk inside though it is a proper pub and tastefully decorated.
I’ve been to some really tiny places (and they still have their appeal) but Golden Ark, while small, was of ample size.
It could even find room for those plastic screens in between tables that seem like they will be a permanent hangover of the Covid era.
A wooden bar is at the back, with a great range of choice on cask, keg and bottles.
In some micropubs I’ve been to the barman will disappear into a cellar out the back and obtain the beer “by gravity”, a method that delights some of the purists, but I still like to see a proper bar.
The Golden Ark treads the line of being a classic micropub but not so niche-looking as to not resemble a pub at all.
Yet the customer base was firmly stereotypical.
I was comfortably the youngest customer in there, and even I’m knocking on the door of middle age.
Maybe it diversifies when the live music is on (a first I’ve seen for a micropub).
In these types of places there is always a man who you could swear you’ve seen somewhere else.
I sat down across a pair of old gents, talking in a low-key but happy way in that still novel mood of happy-to-be-out post lockdown.
I sampled a beer from a Kentish brewery, but there were also selections from small brewers as far as Liverpool and Manchester.
The best thing about places like The Golden Ark is the passion that is brought to the whole operation – this is clearly a labour of love by owners who value good beer, served in a congenial environment.
I would go as far as saying it is worth a special trip.
The Golden Ark, 186 Addington Road, Selsdon CR2 8LB
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