The London Tavern in Margate set to reopen

The London Tavern Photo Frank Leppard

The London Tavern in Margate reopens tomorrow (January 28) with a new team at the helm.

The Addington Street venue is the latest addition to Emma Piggott and Jonathan Mercer’s small pub group, Tiny Dancer, which already runs The Plough in Homerton and The Prince Arthur in London Fields.

Emma and Jonathan – best known as Merce – are well versed in lockdown rituals and takeaway pints -The Plough opened in March 2019 and had its first birthday in lockdown, while The Prince Arthur opened for 44 days before being hit with lockdown restrictions.

The Tiny Dancer group focuses on good wine, local beer and great Guinness and Bloody Mary’s will sit alongside Kent’s Floc Brewing and a selection of real ales that the pub was known for in its past years.

Alongside the pub will be The Tiny Deli, serving morning coffee and pastries, locally made cheeses, charcuterie, and snacks with the focus on stocking locally made from traditional Kent-based small businesses. This will be opened in the Spring.

While the kitchen and 30 seater dining room is being refurbished, the pub will be serving the ‘Tiny Deli Menu’ – an authentic pub snack menu from the deli next door including sausage rolls, butter pies and the Gala Pie, all from Batchelors Bakery, who’ve been feeding Margate for the last 50 years. Ploughman’s cheese boards, quiches and pickled eggs from the local Cheesemakers of Canterbury will be on offer with vegan and gluten free options available and crisps, nuts and Scampi Fries.

Emma began her hospitality career at 16, working at a boutique hotel and trying her hand at cocktail making. At 18 she began training as a barber and she opened her first barbershop in Covent Garden at 24. In 2016 she opened a bigger barbershop in Islington where she met Jonathan, her soon to be business partner.

She  said: “Margate is such a special example of our British seaside and it is such an honour to be able to contribute to the community. The London Tavern will sit alongside some incredible other businesses both new and old, we can’t wait to be a part of it all.

“We are heavily involved with charities local to our other pubs in Hackney and we hope to do the same in Margate. We are looking forward to watching Margate grow and show us even more how brilliantly unique it is.”

Emma says the aim is for a cosy, traditional pub which will eventually have a gallery kitchen visible from the dining area.

There has been local recruitment for staffing to help boost the Thanet economy.

Merce grew up in pubs and clubs in Merseyside and cut his teeth in Northern institutions and hospitality. He’s worked throughout North America and Europe as global HR director for various retail brands and also runs a HR consultancy alongside the Tiny Dancer Group.

He added: “It’s always been a dream of mine since I holidayed down here as a kid to live on the Kent coast, and I’m buzzing I get to do that whilst having the Tav.

“We always try and give great boozers back to the local community, and I hope we can contribute to the already boss hospitality offerings in the area. As with our other sites, we aim to work with the best local produce, people and suppliers who fit into what we’re looking to achieve, and so far we’ve had a great reception.”

The London Tavern first made an appearance on maps in 1821 as The London Hotel. It was run by Carl and Nancy Hilliard from 2016 when they bought the building and set about transforming it. The couple decided to retire after Nancy suffered ill health

The London Tavern – opening hours

Monday – Thursday 4 – 11pm

Friday & Saturday 12pm – 1am

Sundays 12-10pm


  1. All sounds and looks good, just wait for the clowns who call themselves bikers to arrive, as previously.

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