New Margate bar offers craft ales, wines and cocktails with a rooftop garden ingredient twist

Steve and Charlotte head up The Little Swift

Boutique craft ale, organic and biodynamic wines and handmade seasonal cocktails will all be on offer at Margate’s newest bar.

The Little Swift is run by award-winning bartender Steve Taylor and former website and events manager for The BottleShop Charlotte Kimber.

The boutique bar, at the site of Margate’s BottleShop which went into administration in March,  also has herbs and flowers growing on the rooftop terrace which are used in the signature cocktails.

The pair, who source wines and beers from producers who avoid chemicals and nurture soil and biodiversity,  say they are driven by a passion for gardening, bar tending and the ‘Turner’ skies.

Steve said: “This bar is about linking up our passions for gardening and bartending; it’s about making a long-term investment in Margate, in our coastal cocktail garden and the wider ecology of the lands farmed by our producers.”

Little Swift, which will open its doors on October 13, will offer an ever changing menu which includes 12 taps of craft beers that will rotate on a regular basis, showcasing some of the UK’s most exacting breweries, such as The Kernel, Burnt Mill and Burning Sky. Little Swift also has taps devoted to kegged cocktails, and five wine shelves, offering a selection of handpicked, natural and biodynamic wines, which will always be available by the glass.

The bar overlooks Margate’s Main Sands and is close to Turner Contemporary, currently home to the Turner Prize.

Charlotte said: “The art gallery is named after JMW Turner who used to holiday in Margate and once famously said ‘the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe.’

“We are so lucky that the bar has such a spectacular view over the main sands all the way up to the iconic 12th century Reculver Towers. Little Swift customers can watch the sun dramatically set over the sea – just as Turner once enjoyed doing – year round.”

The theme of giving back to the soil is evident in Little Swift’s menu of signature cocktails, such as the ‘Coastal Negroni’, which features seaweed gin and maritime botanicals, and ingredients of coastal plants, herbs and edible flowers can all be found in the rooftop garden. These will also be used in Little Swift’s handmade soft drinks.

Steve said: “It will be great fun making wine as accessible as we have made craft beer in the last ten years. We intend to stock drinks producers and importers that ensure as much organic health is put back into the soil, as is taken from it.”

Charlotte added: “In winter, you can expect perpetual Vietnamese coriander lifting chilli-infused drinks, redcurrant, blackberry and elderberry balsam syrups lending fruit to colder months along with homemade herb salts lining glasses and bitters, and tinctures for delicate adjustments.

“With soft drinks, you can look forward to homemade cardamom and mango lassis while the season lasts, ‘tepache’ – a fermented pineapple skin drink made on site – non-alcoholic G&Ts and blends of garden herb sodas such as woodruff, wormwood and lemon balm.”

Following the opening weekend, Little Swift will be open seven days a week, from 4pm to 11pm and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar is available for private hire and over the coming months it will host a range of craft beer and wine tasting sessions in the comfortable surrounds of the upstairs nook.

The Little Swift in Marine Drive opens at 2pm on October 13.


  1. Will the “Craft” beers be priced at Thanet or London prices?
    I think it’s a bit cynical adding “Craft” to the description and £1.50 to the price of what is basically on offer at the Spoons for less than 3 quid a pint.

  2. I was thinking the same thing re. Prices. No one wants to pay £5 for a third pint of beer just because it’s 7% (like the Bottle Shop did). People may come in for a drink but they won’t stay there.

  3. Ive just noticed the price list behind the couple in the photo. £5 for a half pint of 8% beer. So basically London prices. I won’t be stepping foot in there.

  4. Given the fact that they have biodynamic wines and handmade seasonal cocktails, this sets it apart from all the other bars. I take all of my friends to their place on the weekend.

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