Palm Bay housing estate will have a pub for the first time in 12 years when The Laughing Barrel opens its doors this Friday (April 27).
The micropub, on part of the site of the former Northdown pub in Summerfield Road, is a new venture for Michael McColl and partner Alison Jarvis.
The couple have spent the past month renovating and redecorating the site with Mick even building the bar himself.
Dad and grandad Mick has taken the plunge by giving up his job as an upholsterer to return to his love of pub work.
He said: “It is very scary, I gave up my job a month ago to get the place ready. I used to be an assistant manager in pubs including the Louisa Bay and Charles Dickens and The Albert. For the last four years me and Alison have also been doing the Kent beer and cider festival.
“I’ve always loved pub work and before my mum passed away last Christmas Day she said I should get a micropub. When she passed it was the push I needed to do it.”
The site had been earmarked for houses but was saved when the vicar of St Phillip’s church insisted it should still be a pub for the local community. It was listed as a community asset in 2013. A previous plan to open a bar at the building failed to come to fruition but now residents will finally get their watering hole.
Teaching assistant Alison said: “I grew up on the estate, and my mum and dad are still there. There hasn’t been a pub since the Northdown shut 12 years ago so it is really nice to do this.
“The community saved the building from being demolished and the vicar wanted to make sure it stayed a pub so it became a community asset.
“When we got it, it was just a shell but we have painted, decorated, put the flooring down and done lots of work on the garden that was overgrown.
“We had been looking at doing a micropub for a few years as we really enjoy helping at the Kent Life festival and meeting all the people.”
The Laughing Barrel, which has been decorated with works -available to buy – from Ramsgate artist Ruth Atkins, will offer a variety of ciders and ales, all but two from Kent, including the vegan option of Pig and Porter and a Breakwater stout. There will also be wines, a non-alcoholic lager, soft drinks, and coffee and tea.
There will be coffee mornings each day from 9.30am, a regular curry night with food from Secret Spices and, when the estate’s new chippie opens, a fish and chip night.
The micropub also has a rear garden for smokers and the front garden is currently being tidied up.
Mick says he aims to include all the community so The Laughing barrel will be dog and child friendly.
The opening takes place at 7pm on Friday and all are welcome.