A Margate micropub has triumphed to be named Thanet CAMRA’s 2018 pub of the year.
The Two Halves, on Marine Drive, scooped the title with the Old Bay Alehouse and The Conqueror named as joint runners-up.
The Two Halves is owned by Shaun and Jackie Smethers and first opened its doors in July 2015. It prides itself on serving good cask real ales, ciders and wines – accompanied by plenty of conversation and fantastic sea views.
The decision to ditch a 39 year trade of ceramic tiling to be at the helm of his own bar was one that Shaun plunged into headfirst after a few beers at Ales of the Unexpected in Canterbury Road.
Born and bred Margate lad Shaun said: “I was in the Ales of the Unexpected after a Saturday playing golf and it was just something I thought I could do. I knew how to look after beer as I had a full size bar at home .
“The next day I told my wife what I wanted to do and she said ‘you will need a business plan,’ which was like the green light really.”
Former bank manager Jackie and Shaun looked at properties over the next week, the following week Shaun took his premises licence and in just three months The Two Halves was open for business!
Shaun said: “The property was in a bit of a state but I was in the building trade. From then on, it’s has just gone from good to better. It’s all about looking after the beer, so making sure everyone gets a good beer, and being polite as well as just being ourselves.”
In judging for the annual award Thanet CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) looks for great beer but also the ambiance of a pub and the community spirit.
Good cask ales are a given at The Two Halves but there is also the comforting experience of feeling as though you have stepped into a friend’s home.
Shaun said: “We’ve made it like people are coming into our front room rather than a pub, it is an intimate, friendly place where people will have a chat even if they don’t know anyone.
“We’re really chuffed to have got the CAMRA award when we have only been open for two-and-a-half years.”
Shaun and Jackie will be presented with their award next Sunday at 3pm. There will be a buffet, and of course drinks, to celebrate the achievement.
The Two Halves will also go forward to compete to be named best Kent pub of the year.
The Two Halves is at 2 Marine Drive, Margate. Find them on facebook here