CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 3 Hythe Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - October 2, 2000

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The Gate Inn, 71 Dymchurch Road, Hythe, Kent

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The Hope, 82 Stade Street, Hythe, Kent

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The Three Mariners, 37 Windmill Street, Hythe, Kent

As of 2008 the Gate Inn changed management. According to a reader, the new landlady at that time was "a fun, active and very musical woman, who loves fun and interacting with her customers; she is constantly interacting with the discos and live bands every Friday and is always willing for a laugh."

In a previous column I wrote about some of the many pubs in Hythe, mostly along the quaint and popular High Street. Since then I discovered three more pubs, two of them located down near the sea on the south side of the Royal Military Canal. Until my discovery I never even knew this part of Hythe existed; so the fact that there are two good pubs there as well just pleases me no end.

Directly across from the Military Canal on the south side is The Gate Inn. This is your basic all-day pub, with a pool table and dart board and a long bar served by a crusty, no-nonsense barmaid who considers herself a "lager lout". But don't let this put you off, because the Gate has 6 hand pumps with at least 4 real ales on at any time. On our first couple of visits we had pints of Coniston Bluebird Bitter (3.6% ABV, Coniston Brewing Co., Ltd., Coniston, Cumbria) . The Gold Medal winner at the 1998 Great Britain Beer Festival, this is an extremely nice drop! At 3.6% it's not strong but it's delectably flavourful, like a lovely drive through soft meadows with clear air, clouds, sheep, and birds -- yes, all that in one pint! On a later visit we tried the Tanglefoot Strong Ale (5.1% ABV, Badger Brewery, Blandford St Mary, Dorset). Oh, the agony of waiting for the pint to clear; only regular Guinness drinkers would understand the patience required. But once it clears, this is a serious beer which takes itself seriously as well! No joking around here: it's a good strong, muscly beer. I wouldn't want to anger it in any way.

On my most recent visit to the Gate we tried the Lethal Lemon (4.6%, Kitchen Brewery, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire). This is a nice summer ale -- and contrary to the name it's not the least bit lemony. Perhaps there's a slight suggestion of a lemon about the edges, like a lemon peel has been rubbed lightly around the rim. But this is a decent, bitter pint, refreshing but not wimpy, with the fragrance of lemon without the sourness. Unfortunately it tastes better and better with every sip, so I've developed a Fear of Finishing My Lethal Lemon. But don't worry -- I'm sure all I need to overcome this phobia is a little counselling. And I can't help wondering what would a lime ale would be like... We haven't had a chance to try the other Kitchen's, the Summer Pudding; at 4.9% it was a bit strong for a simple September afternoon.

Down the road toward the sea is the Hope Inn. Having undergone a complete remodel job not long ago, this pub -- which previously consisted of two small bars -- is now one big area. There is a very nice beer garden out back with twin barbecues, and a big-screen projector and strobe lights. The food menu looks decent as well, with a daily vegetarian special. The pub seems to attract older people for its lunches and younger people for its drinks.

The Hope Inn features three real ales. We had pints of London Pride (4.1% ABV, Fuller, Smith, and Turner, London). It was quite chilled but good; we figured this is because, like Harvey's Wine Bar in Folkestone, so many young people come here. But slightly chilled real ale doesn't offend us, if it means young patrons who wouldn't otherwise drink the stuff will enjoy it. Whatever works for turning over the real ale in a particular location should be accepted, as long as it doesn't drastically change the taste and character of the beer.

(So sue me, CAMRA devotees!)

One odd feature of the Hope Inn's decor is "The Chief", a wooden Indian picked up by the landlord on a trip to Mexico. He stands behind the bar watching over a large display of Budweisers. Very strange indeed...

Closer to the beach and down a quiet little road is the Three Mariners, an early Victorian pub which has also been redecorated. This little pubs features two small bars, a beer garden, a pool table and dart board, and a wonderfully eclectic and interesting assortment of locals. We first stopped in here after being told by a friend it was a unique crowd -- "It's wonderful -- everybody is completely mad!" he said. This was obviously our kind of place! The first time we stopped in was promising: one regular was having a Bloody Mary, and a coin-operated fortune-telling machine gave both of us the same fortune: our lucky number was 18 and tonight would be full of fun. I'm not sure what this means exactly. Perhaps we were supposed to do something 18 times in order to have fun, or drink 18 pints or spend £18 or go to 18 different pubs. Whatever it was, I don't think it worked because our evening turned out to be pretty routine.

The Three Mariners is an early Victorian pub owned by Shepherd Neame. The three mariners pictured on the sign outside are Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake, and James Cook, which made us wonder just how old the place really is. One elderly local claims it's been around since before creation, which is a mighty long time. We had pints of Master Brew (3.7%, Shepherd Neame, Faversham, Kent) which weren't the best we've had but were quite drinkable, which makes me very happy because I'd like to come here more often. I definitely need an extra dose of variety in my life.

Gate Inn Updates
(Last updated 7th January 2002)