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Barnacles pub in Margate to celebrate 30 years of pulling pints


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Pubs in Thanet have struggled of late, with the closure of The Britannia on Fort Hill last month and The Holly Tree in Northdown Road last year.

But one landlord is celebrating after successfully navigating the peaks and troughs of the drinking trade for more than three decades.

Nigel has seen Margate change a lot over the years
Nigel has seen Margate change a lot over the years

Nigel Avery has been slinging snacks and pulling pints at the Barnacles pub, on King Street, Margate, for the past 30 years.

With so many other boozy businesses falling by the wayside, what is his secret?

"Consistency," he said.

"It's just a little local friendly pub. We're not particularly cheap but we are one of the better ones on price.

"I think that keeps our clients coming in because they know what they're going to get - what's on the tin, basically."

The pub will celebrate with a special night on February 28
The pub will celebrate with a special night on February 28

After running the business for so many years, Nigel thinks of it as a long-term relationship rather than just a job.

The 56-year-old said: "It's like I have two marriages; I'm married to my wife and I'm married to the pub.

"It becomes a way of life, where your work and social life and everything else is all rolled into one."

Nigel's no-nonsense approach has managed to keep the regulars on the hook for the past three decades and welcomed new punters who have moved down from London in recent years.

In his time as landlord he has seen Margate go through a lot of changes, especially when the Westwood Cross retail park opened and a lot of businesses left the town.

Nigel has been pouring pints in Margate for more than 30 years
Nigel has been pouring pints in Margate for more than 30 years

He said: "Everything changed and everything seemed to struggle, certainly in King Street, lots of shops were boarded up and not used for years."

But when the Turner Contemporary opened in 2011, Nigel relished in the opportunity of new customers from the art scene.

The landlord said: "Everything's come to life since the Turner gallery opened and the art world moved down from London.

"It's moved in that direction, with people buying house, townhouses, second homes.

"It's definitely a good vibe."

The pub has gained from being so close to the Turner Contemporary
The pub has gained from being so close to the Turner Contemporary

Frank Thorley, managing director of the Thorley Taverns, said Nigel is quite rare in his approach of running a pub.

He said: "I would describe him as an old fashioned publican.

"We're in changing times, and pubs aren't in vogue in the way they were.

"He's a welcoming guy, makes a point to know the names of people and makes them feel welcome every time they come through the door."

The Thorley Taverns took the premises over in 2006, with Nigel staying on to run the pub under their overall management.

The business has a total of 20 different outlets across the isle, including The Captain Digby in Broadstairs and The Oak Hotel in Ramsgate.

The pub will be celebrating the 30-year landmark on February 28 with a live performance by local swing band In With Flynn.

To read the Secret Drinker’s pub reviews click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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