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10:50 from Victoria in Strood to face off against Admiral's Arms on Sheppey for Kent pub of the year award

An ale drinkers' paradise hidden away under a railway arch is one step away from facing off against national competition for the pub of the year title.

10:50 From Victoria, in North Street, Strood, has become a top destination for beer fans since opening its doors four years ago.

Back then friends Bob Jackson, Gary O’Hara and Werner Neumann decided to go their own way after being told their watering hole of choice was intent on drawing in younger crowds.

From left Werner Neumann,Bob Jackson andGary O’Hara from 10:50 from Victoria (13021924)
From left Werner Neumann,Bob Jackson andGary O’Hara from 10:50 from Victoria (13021924)

The decision has proved popular and it was crowned Medway's best pub earlier this year by the Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA), denying Gillingham's Past and Present a fifth consecutive title.

Now it has also been awarded the west Kent title and will compete against the multi award-winning Admiral's Arms micropub in Queenborough, Sheppey for Kent glory and to progress to the national final.

On its route to conquering the region 10:50 beat Larkin's Alehouse in Cranbrook, The George in Tunbridge Wells, The Old House at Ightham and Dartford's Penny Farthing.

10:50 from Victoria in North Street, Strood
10:50 from Victoria in North Street, Strood

"We don't mind either way," says Mr Jackson, 75, when asked if he's confident ahead of the county final.

The west Kent title came as a shock and he is a big fan of the Admiral's Arms.

When the retired builder and 72-year-old colleague Mr O'Hara went into business with restaurateur Mr Neumann, 64, their combined experience at pub management amounted to Mr Jackson standing in for a friend a few times at The Bull in Snodland.

But the relaxed attitude and focus on conversation and good beer has proved more than enough to bring in the punters.

"It's never been about the money," explains Mr Jackson, "We're all semi retired and we just wanted a place to drink and enjoy each other's company."

Werner Neumann, Gary O'Hara and Bob Jackson opened the pub in 2015
Werner Neumann, Gary O'Hara and Bob Jackson opened the pub in 2015

He added: "An English man, an Irish man and a German opened a pub. That's how the joke starts."

The pub gets its name as it is in the 1,050th railway arch from Victoria and also because last orders are called at 10.50pm, 10 minutes before closing time.

10:50 from Victoria is open from 4pm to 9pm on Monday to Thursday and from noon to 11pm on Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sundays.

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