On Wednesday I visited the third out of four regional pubs of the year, The Butchers Arms in Herne, Kent.
Jet lagged, I overslept and was chasing the lunchtime session so forgot camera and alas no photos. The pub is only open from 12 to 1.30 (and 5 to 9) so I was in trouble if I missed it. Train from Waterloo, change at Sturry for a 10 minute bus ride to Herne.
This pub is a real curiosity. It may not tick all the boxes that you need for a community pub but it is an absolute "must-visit". (There are three other pubs in this village of which two are also listed in the current Good Beer Guide.)
Described as a micro pub, it was converted from a florists in 2005 and was previously a butchers shop. It has one room at the front, which seats about 12 people. It can only hold 18 people comfortably, though the record is 33. It is decorated with much brewery paraphanalia but also has various decor according to its past life as a butcher; 2 of the tables are old butchers blocks.
It is beer only though if you really want something else there is white wine or lemonade. The beer is served straight from the cask from a cooled room at the back. The toilet is reached via the "cellar".
Dark Star Hop Head, Harveys Sussex, Fullers HSB and ESB are all served in top form from £2.25 to £2.99 a pint. It is the custom that you pay on leaving. The "NFL" etched in the front window stands for No Lager.
In a way it would be shame for this pub to go further in the competition as there is not really room for too many more visitors that more publicity would bring. It is a local secret and would probably benefit from staying that way. That said, I absolutely would recommend anyone visit this pub. It has a unique place in England's pub culture.