Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Man of Kent, Rochester

The Man of Kent, in Rochester, is one of my favourite pubs. Since I first drank a pint there, probably eight years ago, I’ve loved it.

Away from the Dickens-themed high street lined with antique shops and restaurants, where tourists go to visit the cathedral and castle, the Man of Kent stands on a corner, ornately fronted, in the sort of housing area you’d usually hope not to visit but often find yourself in search of a good beer.

Inside, when it’s cold outside, a fire warms. The chairs are worn but comfier for it; it feels lived in, homely while having a rock music edge thanks to the staff and landlord. It's dark and better for it. There’s a vacant slot waiting to be filled by a live band who somehow manage to fit inside the small interior. Things hang from the bar and the walls, all sorts of MoK curiosities: t-shirts, flags, blackboards, photos. To the back of the pub is an extra seating area and a selection of battered old board games, no doubt missing most of the pieces. Beyond that is a garden, decked above and below. In summer the landlord hushes the drinker because his kids are asleep in the rooms above.

The bar takes up most of the space, reaching around the corner almost uncomfortably and inefficiently. There’s nine or ten handpulls and all of them are for beers made in Kent. Goachers is permanent, Gadds, Hopdaemon, Old Dairy, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Whitstable, Abigale and all the rest. The fridge is filled with Belgian and German eccentricities. There’s imposing lager fonts – Kuppers Kolsch and two others (a friend once asked for Foster’s here and was told to fuck off) – a Fruli tap, a trio of Meantime and a couple of lines for cider. There’s also a huge Jager dispenser and a wide selection of wine and spirits.

Busy, great beer, Kent-centric (which as a Man of Kent myself is appealing) good atmosphere and just a little bit different. I’ve always liked it. I especially liked it when mates were told, brashly, to go to Wetherspoons if they wanted a fucking Fosters. It's not pretty or nice, it's a backstreet boozer which does great beer. The Man of Kent has always been one of my favourite pubs and I wish I drank there more than I do.


  1. I've never been to the pub but I've met the couple that run it and now I like them even more!

  2. it stinks like piss the barstaff are rude apparently if your not a regular you get spoken to like shit the beer was like week old bath water, 2 other people commented on the dodgy beer while i was there, you would be better off going to "the fucking weatherspoon" in my opinion!

    1. You might actually have been there, perhaps you are sensitive soul and are not used to a pub with a no-nonsense attitude and decent beer. Honestly - it's never smelled bad any of the many times I've been there. I've always found people friendly and yes it has regulars - that's how pubs stay afloat. Wetherspoons are all very well but if you want a seat, interesting beers and above all character I'd recommend you try visiting again

    2. The beer's been excellent every time I've been there.

  3. I think its the best pub in the world. We only manage to come down 1 - 2 a year to the racing at Brands Hatch, but dont bother with any other pub in area. Wish we had a pub like it in our area. My partner likes real ales and I like Belgian and German Beers. Agree sometimes bar staff can be a bit offhand but we go in to drink. The last time we were there the barman at the time was helpful in telling me where to go in New Orleans to get good beer.

  4. Hi Mark, nice post thank you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, cannot help noticing though that you kept it anon. ... what is that all about?? It is a good pub, everything that is good is this life has a certain amount of 'not-so-good' somewhere. Get over it and ENJOY. regards, Charlie Baker