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Bosses of Dead Pigeon micropub in Rochester to take over former Barclays branch in Rainham


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The owners of a successful micropub plan to take over an empty bank to open a second much bigger premises.

Jamie Clark and Tom Mudge, who run the Dead Pigeon in Rochester, want to transform the old Barclays in Rainham into a bar serving food.

The men are taking over the old Barclays Bank in Rainham

They hope to employ an extra 15 to 25 staff at the High Street venue which will cater for about 100 seated customers.

The menu is still being finalised but the men – both aged 33 – promise their popular giant burgers served at their current High Street bar will be making an appearance.

There will also be a cocktail menu and about 100 craft beers on offer.

Both growing up in the town attending the Howard School, they say their new venture is close to their hearts.

Jamie said: "It's been a bank there for as long as I can remember. I've walked past it and used it for years.

Barclays in High Street, Rainham
Barclays in High Street, Rainham
The downstairs will be a bar and seating area for food
The downstairs will be a bar and seating area for food

"We've been looking at Rainham for some time. A lot of our existing customers come from around this area and have asked when are we going to move here.

"When it came up we couldn't turn it down. There's not much that needs doing, just more interior work like installing a kitchen."

Tom is a chef and Jamie takes care of the paperwork and marketing side of the business while Jamie's wife, Rachel, also helps out.

The upstairs floor will be used as offices and will eventually be a a function room where live entertainment can be performed.

They hope to open later this year after an eight to 12-week refit.

The planned bar area inside the old Barclay's Bank
The planned bar area inside the old Barclay's Bank

The landmark building is opposite The Cricketers and White Horse pubs – The Railway Wetherspoon's hostelry is in nearby Station Road.

The men have yet to come up with a name, but are hopeful it will come to them like it did when they took over the Dead Pigeon in 2018.

Jamie explained: "We came across a dead pigeon when we were refurbishing it and thought that might ruffle a few feathers."

Formerly the Northern Seaman micropub, it is popular with craft beer drinkers and thrived on a roaring take-away trade during lockdown, including the monumental Game Changer burger.

It is also popular with real-ale drinkers and did such a thriving trade in takeaways during lockdown that the service has been continued.

Inside the vaults at the former bank which is planned to be storage or a beer tasting room
Inside the vaults at the former bank which is planned to be storage or a beer tasting room

For months there has been widespread speculation that the Nucleus art project was to take over Barclays.

Its director Aaron Telford this week confirmed officially for the first time there had been interest in the premises, but there were drawbacks, including lack of a garden.

He said: "It is one of three properties we have been looking at in the High Street.

"We are looking at a building of a similar size to the bank which would accommodate a cafe, gallery and studios."

He added: "We are very keen to get into Rainham. We have been talking to the council and the town is due for regeneration.

The downstairs will be a bar and seating area for food
The downstairs will be a bar and seating area for food
The Game Changer burger by the Dead Pigeon in Rochester
The Game Changer burger by the Dead Pigeon in Rochester

"We were surprised when we did a survey of where our customers live and 23% had an ME8 (Rainham) postcode."

He said Nucleus, which has a restaurant at the former Conservancy Building in Rochester and a cafe in Chatham High Street, is close to clinching a deal in the town centre.

Nucleus is currently advertising for staff to work at its new venue.

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