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Secret Drinker reviews the Prince Albert in Whitstable


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You’ve got to feel sorry for a barmaid who’s so desperate for you to stay and keep her company she starts handing out free drinks.

The track-suited landlord had been a kip for half-an-hour and the punter who had drunk himself to oblivion on black Sambucas and Morettis, had stopped dancing like a lunatic and punching the jukebox, so by 9pm the place had quietened down considerably.

The Prince Albert on Sea Street in Whitstable received a full makeover less than three years ago
The Prince Albert on Sea Street in Whitstable received a full makeover less than three years ago

This is the centre of trendy Whitstable on a Thursday evening, but the Prince Albert is dead because...

  • The darts team is playing away at the Labour Club
  • Jared, the landlord, is snoring in the bar
  • This could well be the worst place in town

At first glance this trendy looking Sea Street pub might deceive you as a recent upgrade masks the true horror, but the decoration can’t hide the truth for long.

In the time it took to order a pint of 5.4% Gamma Ray not only had dancing punter lurched into me for a second time, but the smell of the place had fixed itself firmly in my nostrils.

The bar is well stocked with a good selection of drinks available
The bar is well stocked with a good selection of drinks available

Apart from the aroma, one of the first things I noticed was a sign which read ‘Exit is available via the back gate but beware the narrow passageway’. Believe me passageways, narrow or otherwise, are the least of your worries.

Let’s be fair, Jared was awake just long enough to recommend Beavertown’s stronger IPA, which was a darned good drop, but he rapidly became overtired and decided to have a much-needed snooze in an armchair.

At this point a couple of DFLs from the east side of the capital walked in and requested Moretti.

The dartboard holds pride of place in the small room to the right hand side of the bar but was not in action as the Prince Albert team were playing away at the Labour Club
The dartboard holds pride of place in the small room to the right hand side of the bar but was not in action as the Prince Albert team were playing away at the Labour Club

Unfortunately the barrel had gone and barmaid Sian, who’s only worked here a month, hasn’t been shown how to change it.

A request to the sleeping Jared for assistance elicited no response but once nudged back from the land of nod he considered the request before uttering: “f*** ‘em”.

Fortunately another regular, by the name of Jamie, had entered the fray and, despite having no previous experience, was prepared to give changing the barrel a go.

The DFLs decided the best, and safest option, was to head for the electronic fruit machine and as soon they’d pumped in their money and downed their drinks, headed to the station to board the first train home.

The fruit machine was visited briefly by a couple of ‘Down from Londons’ who used it as a distraction while they necked their drinks as fast as possible
The fruit machine was visited briefly by a couple of ‘Down from Londons’ who used it as a distraction while they necked their drinks as fast as possible

Despite his need for liquid refreshment the disco dancing drinker had, until now, dominated the jukebox, but even he grew tired of ‘singing’ along to bad songs and finally stumbled into the night.

Jamie, after buying two bottles of fruity cider to takeaway, departed moments later which left just me, Sian and Jared sleeping like a baby in his yellow-tinted glasses, off-white Fila tracksuit and bright red trainers.

I said I ought to be going too but Sian persuaded me to stay by offering me one of her free drinks, so I had a Moretti and she poured her heart out.

There are plenty of signs the pub received a recent overhaul and redecoration but despite the fresh look it could do with a good clean and the smell greets you as soon as you walk through the door
There are plenty of signs the pub received a recent overhaul and redecoration but despite the fresh look it could do with a good clean and the smell greets you as soon as you walk through the door

She usually works a couple of days a week but was covering Thursday as a favour so the landlady could play darts.

After I paid a swift visit to the gents, which incidentally are cleaner and fresher than the rest of the pub, though I’m not sure why mouthwash and deodorant are provided, Sian and I had a good chat about the pub and its future.

I would think anyone new coming in would first give the place a thorough, deep clean.

The gents were clean, fresh and well maintained – probably the cleanest part of the pub
The gents were clean, fresh and well maintained – probably the cleanest part of the pub

There are also eight or so tables which look perfect for dining, but the pub hasn’t offered food for a while and there didn’t seem to be any sign of anyone getting the kitchen sorted soon – so, a missed opportunity there maybe.

It was getting late and I really needed to be on my way, but bidding Sian a fond farewell I noticed a worker was rearranging the road closed signs even closer to the pub and asked if she thought this would affect the pub's trade.

She laughed: “You must be kidding, it’s got more to worry about than that”.

Sea Street was closed when I visited with a re-routed one way system in operation. Locals say it is regularly shut for extended periods, at least three or four times a year
Sea Street was closed when I visited with a re-routed one way system in operation. Locals say it is regularly shut for extended periods, at least three or four times a year

Prince Albert, Sea Street, Whitstable CT5 1FG

Decor: It’s been done up and on the face of it doesn’t look too bad, but could do with a damn good clean. I’m not sure if the smell is from the furnishings or the clientele – I declined to investigate further. **

Drink: The Gamma Ray, a 5.4% IPA from the Beavertown Brewery is a really good pint and there is a decent selection of drinks available – if someone is able to change the barrel! ****

Food: Although it used to serve food I am told it was stopped some time ago and although the kitchen is apparently being renovated no-one knows if/when it will be operational again.

Price: A pint of Moretti and a pint of Beavertown’s Gamma Ray both cost the same. To be fair £5.40 probably isn’t exceptional for Whitstable but it’s a bit rich for these surroundings. **

Staff: Operating in nigh on impossible circumstances, I reckon Sian is an absolute diamond ****

Turn left for the gents, right for the ladies. Don’t be put off by the blue dinosaur
Turn left for the gents, right for the ladies. Don’t be put off by the blue dinosaur
The advice on the hand drier makes perfect sense but I’m not so sure who the deodorant and mouthwash were for?
The advice on the hand drier makes perfect sense but I’m not so sure who the deodorant and mouthwash were for?
If oval balls are your thing then this might be the pub for you. Apparently the Prince Albert will be showing all the Six Nation’s games
If oval balls are your thing then this might be the pub for you. Apparently the Prince Albert will be showing all the Six Nation’s games

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