The first micropub to open in a Kent town is now looking to expand by moving to new, larger premises.
Past and Present, Medway’s first miniature boozer, is looking to the future has proved so popular it is moving to a bigger place up the road in Gillingham.
Owner Dave Hallowell, who opened up in a former second-hand shop in Skinner Street in August 2014, is expanding to cater for the influx of drinkers favouring spirits, like gin and rum.
But he insists the no-frills ethos of micropubs, with its real ales, no fruit machines and ban on mobile phones, will remain.
The 58-year-old said: “It will be a compromise. We shall still be sticking to the basics like no food, but perhaps the odd pie and bar snacks. We were getting more people coming along and turning away because their wife or vice versa wanted a gin and tonic.”
The new premises, at the recently-closed Gin and Tap Room in Canterbury Street, which Dave also owns, is twice the size.
Dave and wife Lorraine, 58, hope to be behind the bar by the spring.
The former aerospace engineer and Lorraine, who used to work for the NHS, had no experience of running pubs beforehand.
They believe their success inspired others to follow suit, with several other micropubs springing up across the Towns soon afterwards.
His decision to give up his job paid off, picking up CAMRA awards three years running, including Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year.
The father-of-four said: “There are about 500 micropubs in the UK today and 90% would say they are not real micropubs any more. You have to move with the times.”
'We like to mix it up a bit and not rotate the same beers...'
The initial concept was simple - good beer and cider in a friendly place where customers can have a conversation without the distraction of TVs, piped music, loud bands, mobile phones or gambling machines.
Dave added: “I put our success down to sourcing our beers from further afield, like Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight. We like to mix it up a bit and not rotate the same beers.
“Before, the only experience I had of the licensing trade was drinking the stuff.”