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Wolfe and Castle micropub to open at Rochester High Street's wonky shop after four-week makeover

Cheers! It's a dream come true for self-confessed real ale geek Paul Dixon who is just about to open his own micropub.

The former advertising executive has given up his top job in London to serve pints to fellow beer fans at his new business at what's known as the "wonky shop" in Rochester High Street.

Paul Dixon outside his new micropub
Paul Dixon outside his new micropub

Since getting his liquor licence just four weeks ago, builders have worked around the clock to get the quirky grade 2 listed building, so-called because it leans to one side, ready for opening time tomorrow.

The Wolfe and Castle will be welcoming what he calls "nerdy" craft beer drinkers, but will also be offering wines and some spirits for non-aficionados.

Paul,43 , has been meeting suppliers and getting hands-on with work - and he's amazed to have uncovered some probable Roman brickwork in the loo.

He said:" I can pour a drink and cook a meal, but DIY is not my forte."

Paul and partner Fran, 41, fell in love with the building and have taken into account its 500-year history when embarking on the £25k makeover.

He said: "I hope I've matched the personality of the place and respected the building."

Real ale fan Paul Dixon
Real ale fan Paul Dixon

Paul will be specialising in a range of craft beers and serving bar snacks, such as sausage rolls, Scotch eggs and nibbles.

He said: "I could see there was a gap in the market. We hope to bring something different to Rochester, a unique and valuable addition to the High Street."

He also plans to set up an online store selling beers from brewers such as Floc, Deya, Cloudwater and Verdant, as well as alcohol-free beers. Paul, a self-confessed 'ale geek', said: "I'm passionate about them and could talk for hours about different beers.

"It will be somewhere for people to meet and talk about breweries, hops and brewing styles as well as enjoying the product."

Paul Dixon and partner Fran
Paul Dixon and partner Fran

After quitting his high-profile sales job at the Guardian newspaper, Paul admits the last few weeks have been "full on".

He hopes the pub will encourage non traditional beer drinkers with his wide range of stock.

He said: "Beer drinkers like variety and we have some beers with different flavours, like blackcurrant and rhubarb that don't taste like beers.

"I want to make this a community,neighbourhood pub.

Serving up - Paul Dixon at his new micropub
Serving up - Paul Dixon at his new micropub

"If somebody asked me what's important, the beer, people or atmosphere, I'd say all three."

When the dad-of-three and his wife moved from south east London to Rochester last January he felt it had everything, but there was one thing missing - "a place to have a decent beer".

The couple have three children Lea, 18, Emily 14 and Jude, five and live in St Margaret's Street.

Paul's venture also includes a bottle shop to sell booze to passing punters and to customers who want to take drinks home.

Over the centuries the premises has changed hands on numerous occasions and, at one time, was a brothel.

Other businesses to come and go include a travel agents, bakery, grocery, news agency and bric-a-brac store.

Paul Dixon waiting to welcome customers
Paul Dixon waiting to welcome customers

Wolfe and Castle will be open 11am to 7pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,11am to 11pm Friday and Saturday and 11am to 5pm, Sunday.

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