It’s been years since I enjoyed a pint in the Wincheap area of Canterbury, but that’s exactly where I found myself this week.
Perhaps the city’s oldest pub, the Maiden’s Head on the main drag reckons it can trace its roots back almost 600 years. So, how has it stood up to the test of time?
I was greeted by a cheery barmaid and an even cheerier, not to mention incredibly colourful, owner Monica. Impeccably turned out, with a fashion sense that could only originate from different shores, this lovely Spanish lady is responsible for running this unassuming, but pleasantly welcoming, boozer with her fella, Jeremy.
The latter is the silver-haired fox taking responsibility for whatever delights emanate from the kitchen. As such, he must take the blame for the smell of burned cooking fat as you walk in.
However, don’t let this put you off what is clearly a great local pub doing all it can to welcome regulars and visitors alike.
There are plenty of beams with hops hanging attractively around them as well as an England flag and Deliveroo sign in the window. There’s even a whole corner given over to a collection of clocks, including a real beauty from Baywatch.
Stepping up to the bar for a very passable pint of Canterbury Ales at 3.7% I bashed my head on a white metal post just seconds before I saw the words ‘Mind you head’ written on it in marker pen - no H&S issue here, just personal stupidity.
With my ears ringing slightly I was sure I heard a bird tweeting from the kitchen, but looking round the door Jeremy assured me it was in fact a clock. At which point Monica, or her phone at least, was going boing, boing. I decided not to be put off by any more strange sounds – including Tubeway Army’s Are Friends Electric on the jukebox!
There’s a dartboard, a selection of board games, fresh flowers on each table, an assortment of city views on one wall and plenty of posters advertising the Kent Beer Festival (July 18-20 in Canterbury).
And, with four brown leather sofas, a log burner in one fireplace and logs packing the other under the dartboard I can imagine this being a very cosy spot in winter.
There is a decent size TV screen on the wall, but with no sport scheduled it was switched off – I can’t bear places showing pointless, boring Sky News for no reason. If there’s a game on, great, if not turn it off.
The gents are clean, fresh and well decorated with a copy of the menu on the wall facing you in the trap.
And finally, for David Walsh, among others, I’m pleased to say access looks good and is all on one level. At the risk of taking flak for promoting drink driving, I can report there’s a good sized car park at the back.
Popular Maidstone boozer sold for £385,000. Click here for the full story