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Friday nights at home inspire actor to open cheese, wine and charcuterie bar Vine in Margate

An actor inspired by childhood memories of his family's wine and cheese nights has opened a wine, cheese and charcuterie bar in the heart of Margate Old Town.

Nathan Harding-Lee, previously a manager at the popular Wyatt and Jones restaurant in Broadstairs, launched his venture last month in a premises on The Parade by the piazza.

Nathan Harding-Lee outside Vine in Margate
Nathan Harding-Lee outside Vine in Margate

By day the venue runs as the Coffee Shed, but on Friday and Saturday nights, from 6pm to 10.30pm, Mr Harding-Lee takes over with his bar Vine, offering visitors wine, cheese and charcuterie.

In the summer months he plans to open more frequently and provide hampers for people to take down onto the beach to watch the sunset.

He says the idea came from his beloved Friday nights at home.

"I grew up in Middlesbrough and was introduced to wine at home with my mum and nanna, who used to pop open a bottle of red, plate up a cheese board and set the world to rights," he said.

"They let me stay up a little later than usual, wanting to instil some wisdom on my younger ears about life, girls, culture, politics - but above all what I loved most about it was the family feeling.

Cheese and charcuterie will be served alongside wine at Vine (23426681)
Cheese and charcuterie will be served alongside wine at Vine (23426681)

"As I grew older, I'd reach the point where my dad and grandad would return back from the pub, pour a whisky and finish off the rest of the food and add their own two drunken cents on any of the issues we'd been civilly discussing in the evening.

"By opening Vine, I want to emulate this relaxed, laid-back feel.

"There are loads of great places in Margate to go out and listen to music or go dancing, but people don't always want to do that, so I want to offer something else"

Mr Harding-Lee trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has been a professional actor since 2012, which he still does, but he admits he always loved working in the service industry.

Three years ago, he travelled to Venice with his partner Maria and found himself drinking wine, nibbling on grapes and eating cicchetti in the back streets.

Nathan Harding-Lee has set up Vine in Margate. Picture Instagram/Vinemargate
Nathan Harding-Lee has set up Vine in Margate. Picture Instagram/Vinemargate

"It reminded me so much of the evenings I used to have as a kid," he said.

"I wanted to bring that sense of relaxation, indulgence and community to Margate seafront and with my experience of running restaurants I wanted to have our own little place."

He added: "The concept is very open and malleable. We plan to be responsive to our little community and will always be open to change."

To see what Vine has to offer click here.

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