It was Saturday night and I’d got a couple of hours to kill in Maidstone town centre before I needed to be elsewhere.
Determined to try somewhere I hadn’t been before, and steering away from the large, homogeneous chain pubs, I found myself at a small, corner road boozer just outside the town centre.
From the outside The Eagle looked as if it had received a little recent care and attention, not to mention a new lick of paint. Walking through the door it’s clear any budget they did have was all spent outside.
Roy Orbison was being belted out at a deafening level and a man lurched into me before falling flat on his back and cracking his head on the floor.
No-one batted an eyelid but a grinning mate eventually hauled Customer #1 to his feet before throwing pints all over both of them and, killing themselves laughing, they both crashed to the floor again.
Avoiding the growing lager lake and newly-formed heap of bodies I reached Lisa the barmaid and ordered myself a pint of Kronenbourg. I might have tried the real ale but whatever was on tap, Doom Bar and something else, didn’t look like they been available for a while.
Three young fellas then wandered in and one surreptitiously asked me if I could direct him to the toilets? I hadn’t a clue where they were and was explaining when Lisa rumbled they were trying to use the pub just for a pit (pee) stop before heading into town and her evil eye persuaded them to order three pints of Amstel.
By now the old boy dominating the jukebox had shifted through Orbison, two from Meatloaf and something from Labi Siffre. The young lads stepped up to pump cash into the machine and, I assumed, to change the music genre. However, their taste was even more ancient country and western tunes – unless, having been denied the toilet they were now taking the proverbial.
The battle over tunes was only paused long enough for all three pints of Amstel to be returned to the bar and exchanged for pints of Foster's as they felt the former lager wasn’t up to scratch. How bad has a drink got to be for it to be replaced by this Aussie dishwater?
There’s a sign saying strictly no under 16s after 9pm but there’s no way I’d inflict this place on kids at any time of day of night. There’s also a sign saying coffee and cake any day for £4 but there’s no way I’d recommend that either, I certainly wouldn’t eat in here.
And, whilst I’m on the subject of food, only those with a strong disposition, and an even stronger stomach, are advised to enter the gents. Forget the lime coloured toilet seat, the flooded floor and the carpet on the cistern, there are far worse horrors lurking here, far too foul to be mentioned – the editor would delete them for sure.
I took a little hope when a fellow called James on our side of the bar grabbed a mop and started cleaning up.
At this point another local also requested a wet cloth from barmaid Lisa but, sadly, had no intention of helping James and just went off to rub it in some woman’s face – very strange.
James then went into what looks like it was once a kitchen, pulled on a waistcoat and, started eating something. I can only assume he works here and has a cast iron constitution – either way, he started plying Customer #1, with pints of water.
So, what else to tell you? There are two large screens, neither were on when I was in, there’s a sign saying the jukebox is free on Sundays, no more than four songs each – and, whilst watching on in amazement, I never actually felt in physical danger.
Just when I thought the place couldn’t get any stranger a woman approached the bar through the haze of the vapes, leant across to me and informed me she always carries a spare pair of tights in her handbag.
Then she accidentally dropped her jewel-encrusted mobile phone behind the bar before complaining she had lost a valuable ring and blaming her mate for it.
I rescued her phone and passed it to her immediately, but it was only later, as I was passing the front of the pub, after grabbing a bite to eat, I spotted something sparkle on the pavement outside.
I dutifully picked up the ring and passed it to Lisa who went scurrying off, presumably to return it to its truly weird owner.
I’m told I was unlucky to have missed the couple who run the place and, even unluckier, to have missed Lenny the dog who’s usually behind the bar.
I just counted myself lucky to have experienced and survived the second most bizarre visit to a pub I’ve ever had.