A love of community, real ale and Broadstairs are the driving forces behind the creation of a new micropub in the town.
Resident and former corporate salesman Andy Smith, 45, plans to renovate the former Bridal Gallery shop in Chandos Road to bring it back to its Victorian glory – with a contemporary twist – to create The Royston.
The micropub, named after Andy’s dad Roy who passed away at Maurice House after a period of dementia, will showcase Kent brewery ales and ciders and be on offer for use by community groups.
There will also be support for other businesses with patrons able to order in food deliveries from local restaurants and plans for a scheme with trades offering services to customers. Local produce, including freshly roasted coffee, will also be served and Andy will be selling a variety of different coffee beans for people to use at home.
Andy, who is being backed in the venture by fiance Melissa and their son, 24-year-old Liam, spent 24 years in the commercial selling ‘rat race’.
Following a brain haemorrhage, resulting in three weeks at Kings College Hospital, Andy returned to work but decided it was time for him to take a new direction. He spent three years as part of a social enterprise working with category B prisoners in the café/kitchen, teaching them catering, customer service and barista skills. He currently works on a self-employed basis with a coffee roastery supplying coffee and barista training to the hospitality sector, including Thanet cafes and restaurants.
The former Upton and St George’s student says now is the time to do “something that makes you want to get up in the morning.”
He said: “I have been to micro pubs and breweries, like The Four Candles, The Magnet and my friends at The Harbour Arm in Margate, and they have all been really supportive. I have a bit of savings and wanted to do something in the town where I was born and raised.
“It will be renovated in a Victoriana contemporary theme to fit the area and it will be very much community focused.
“There are two phases. Upstairs will have high seating so you are all on the same level whether standing or seated, there will be a 25 person capacity and there will be no bar, instead patrons will be served at the tables. Benches and tables will be arranged around the perimeter of the room facing inwards to encourage conversation.
“A small selection of bar snacks will be offered but there will be no hot food. Customers can
bring food in or they might all want to club in and order from local businesses such as Posillipo.”
The Royston will have a selection of board games and books as well as quiz nights and other events to raise money for local charities and good causes. There will be no TV or juke box and generally no music upstairs.
Phase two will be the downstairs ‘lounge’ area with soft seating and coffee tables. The space will have a 30 person capacity for occasional use, private functions, meetings and weekend ticketed events such as open mic and live comedy nights.
Andy said: “It will be a place where people can come and send emails or have coffee, somewhere quiet and respectable. It’ll be a place for clubs and organisations to hold their meetings. I really want to be a place for our town and community.”
Renovation work involves stripping the entire site back and looking at retaining original features while giving the decor an individual twist.
The venture will create five jobs in addition to Andy as owner/manager and son Liam, an experienced barman, also helping at the helm.
It is hoped to open, if a change of use application is approved by Thanet council, by December.