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Secret Drinker tours Deal in Kent as its pubs get set to reopen

I literally cannot wait for our wonderful local pubs to open again.

I got so desperate this week that even getting drenched in drizzle couldn’t put me off a pre-opening pub crawl in Deal.

It might appear a little strange to some of you, but before I knew it I’d visited 20 places, all within just half an hour in the town.

Firstly I was struck by the incredible number of drinking establishments packed into the place (I had no idea) and second, by all the hard work going on to get them ready. Though I must admit the appearance of a few places has me concerned they might not make it back – not this month anyway.

And it wasn’t just the grey, drizzly day that left me feeling downbeat, it was incredibly sad to still see closed notices in doors and windows.

But, by the time I made it to The Lane in South Court one hearty fellow was so pleased to see some interest in the place he put down his tools for a moment or two to share a cheery greeting, a few words of encouragement and to explain it is his daughter’s place and he’s more than happy to help her get it shipshape and ready to go.

Here's dad getting The Lane spick and span for reopening
Here's dad getting The Lane spick and span for reopening

In fact, when I started looking beyond the closed notices and notes apologising to regulars there were more lights on than I first realised and, peering in even more, I could see some serious woodwork taking place and plenty of folk with paintbrushes in hand. So, it seems the hardworking hospitality staff in Deal are doing everything they can to make sure we pub-starved punters can enjoy their hospitality as safely and as soon as possible.

Now, I know not everywhere can possibly be ready to reopen this Saturday and a number of landlords and landladies have already said they need to put their customers first and the best way to do this is to delay – I, for one, greatly admire their selflessness and applaud their decision.

With its waterfront pubs, Deal usually pulls in drinkers day and night
With its waterfront pubs, Deal usually pulls in drinkers day and night

Of course, large pubs with big resources, and equally large gardens, will be better placed for earlier opening and I’m sure people will flock to them. But, what I’m really looking forward to, is these real, local boozers, with warts an’ all, throwing their doors open again for proper pub-goers to enjoy. Not that I didn’t spot some great outside spaces beyond the walls and fences. I certainly did – and I bet they’ve received just as much DIY love and attention as the indoor areas.

But, above all, I realised it is important I give each and every place a mention and encourage as many people as possible to show their support for these great boozers by getting along for a pint as soon as they reopen.

Sadly I realise I might be featuring some places which may not reopen and perhaps even some which closed ahead of Covid-19 but I won’t apologise for my lack of local knowledge as I think it’s far more important to do everything to support as many pubs as possible.

I also realise not all of the 20 places I’m about to list are strictly pubs and you may say some are restaurants and have no place in this list, but they all serve drinks – I also suspect a number of people will argue one place should definitely be deleted!

But this is what I found on my travels and, as always, I support the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s get behind all these great Deal places.

Bohemian; Deal Hoy; Dunkerleys Hotel; Kings Head; Quarterdeck; Salentinos; Ship Inn; Smugglers; The Bar; The Clarenedon Hotel; The Foresters; The Just Reproach; The Lane; The New Inn; The Port Arms; The Rose; The Sir Norman Wisdom; The Taphouse; Walmer Castle; Wellingtons.

Read all Secret Drinker's Kent pub reviews here

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As part of this support your newspaper plans to use its Love Your Local campaign to make sure every pub has the best possible reopening. You can even book yourself a free advert. Find out more here.

For more news of venues reopening across Kent click here.

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