Thanet has been paying tribute today (July 8) following the sad news of the death of Old Kent Market and Ramsgate Promenade Market owner Andy Barrett.
Larger than life, instantly recognisable with his trademark beard, hat and colourful clothes – Andy had been a force of nature on the isle for more than 20 years.
He brought a taste of something new to the hospitality scene with the opening of Ramsgate’s Belgian Bar in 2000. The popular venue was a hub for food and drink but also music and art with works by locals displayed on the walls, a regular spot for the isle’s belly dancing troupe and a piano that was available to anyone who fancied playing a tune.
In 2016 Andy spread his creative flair to Margate with the opening of the Old Kent Market. Based on the site of the former Parade Cinema, the brilliant pink building has been home to numerous small traders, food and drink outlets and a café aboard a double decker bus.
He also opened La Trappiste in Canterbury in 2010 which traded until 2017.
Always changing with the times, Andy closed The Belgian Bar in March 2018 and, after a complete makeover, re-emerged as the Green Tara a couple of months later. The venue still served the famous pizzas alongside other street foods and drinks.
Yet anther transformation took place last year when there was yet another paint job and reorganisation before launching the Ramsgate Promenade Market – once again housing small traders in food and drink.
In April this year Andy took the challenge of being opposite the UK’s biggest pub by becoming the host of probably the country’s smallest pub.
The Little King Richard Arms serves from its 5ft wide, 2ft 2inch deep venue and was named in honour of ‘true gent’ and long-time friend of Andy’s, Richard Brown, who sadly died following a flat fire in Ramsgate last year.
Andy, who had turned 74 this year, is remembered by friends as “a kind, enthusiastic, energetic, entrepreneurial and inspirational” man who loved to see others having fun, would give up his time and his space for those who needed it and faced life with quirkiness, creativity and kindness.
Andy will never be forgotten by anyone who was fortunate enough to fall within his unique orbit. A real gentleman who I shall miss greatly.
Oh you bet he will not be forgotten. I’m so sad right now. Loved him to pieces. He did so much and always greater me with hugs and kisses.. Rest in peace legend of Andy Barratt
Andy REST IN PEACE SO SAD TO SEE YOU PASS
YOU WILL BE MISSED YOU ARE AND ALWAYS BE THE LEGEND..YOU SHINE ON US ALL… YOU WAS SO OLD SCHOOL.
REST IN PEACE ANDY..
How sad and he will be much missed.
Shocked and truly saddened …
A Ramsgate legend.
Will be missed.
So very sad. What an absolute character who is irreplaceable. Fly high Andyxx
Such sad news,always grateful for his support with The Nourish Bar in the market supporting my daughter and partner in their venture.
I had known him for years, his humanity and his kindness. He will be sorely missed by so many. There will not be another like him.
A marvellous character was Andy. Am shocked he has left us. Will pray for his well-being wherever he is.
An indefatigable entrepreneur in pursuit of providing quality intoxication, creative fun and pleasure to decades of artists and musicians, dilletantes, lushes, outsiders and local characters. He will be greatly missed.
RIP…Andy hosted a group of us from the Man of Kent in Rochester some years ago at the Belgian bar. Top gent.
Ramsgate has lost another gentleman our condolences to his family♥️♥️🥲🥲🥲
What a legend! The Belgian Bar was amazing, but then to change with the tide and reinvent the space – kudos
God bless you my beautiful friend, you were a truly wonderful man, a one off. ❤️
So sorry to hear this , what a wonderful caring & delightful gentleman . Will really miss him
Very sad news , I didn’t realize he was 74 , lovely man always friendly and chatted often about Belgium and Brussels, a real character, RIP.
So sorry to hear this ! Andy was a lovely and entertaining man !
Oh no! So saddened to hear! Hope he will be with his great friend, Richard now. Both will be greatly missed at the harbour 😢 Rest in peace ❤️
Such sad news.
Rip Andy and Richard I had no idea both had passed they were up there among the kindest people I have had the privilege to meet.
Such a huge shock, such a lovely bloke with the best bear hugs in rammy…Will be missed enormously x
RIP Andy a kind and gentle man to everyone I remember when he lived on the streets and homeless worked hard to build his businesses over the years my condolences to his family thanks for the old Kent market and to all my friends in there.
Bon Voyage, dear Andy-maybe you have crossed over to Wonderland-a favorite place and book for both of us. You will be missed in this land and every other land as well. You made every place you set foot, a better, kinder, more fun place to be…🥰🎨🎶🦋
RIP Andy. A truly unique individual who has left a lasting legacy behind him.
Such a kind man. I’m very happy to have met the chap. He’ll be organising a huge party in heaven. RIP
The Belgian Bar was a hit for all. Even Jason Lakes played piano and sung in there. I loved it.. Love you too Andy.. Gone but not forgotten.
A sweet warm kind soul who will be sadly missed by many. RIP Andy
A guy who really cared about Thanet and worked had to add a touch of quirky fun to the Island.
Such a shock I’ve known Andy for over 15 years was such a kind soul Never negative will be miss by so many
Andy!! We have known Andy for a long time. We moved to Ramsgate December 2021, Andy was the only person who gave us a warm and welcoming welcome to our new home. Our sincere condolences for this kind and wonderful man. Rest in peace Andy! Marianna and Zdravko Jordanovi.
Such a real gent, always keen to help artists and creatives, and the Belgian cafe was special! RIP Andy
A really sad loss to Thanet. A very kind guy with lots of flair.
LARGER THAN LIFE
Known Andy for 20yrs. Performed at the Belgian bar and knew him well. Totally shocked and sad
I only met him twice. Once when I played the piano outside, and the second time when he bought me a drink to say thank you. But even that short time was enough to make me realise what a special man he was. A huge loss.
An Eccentric. An Entrepreneur. A man with a wonderful imagination and the ability to see things through to fruition. Also a very very Nice human being. He will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends, and the community as a whole. Rest in peace Andy. What a loss—
You will be truly missed by so many, I knew Andy for 50 years, both in Chelmsford, then in Thanet, where we both moved to. RIP
Does anyone know of a funeral date?
I have been wondering the same thing Mick, I keep looking out for an update. Did he have family ? I truly hope that he gets an amazing send off. May his memory be a blessing x
Such a lovely man who always made time for a chat and a hug no matter how busy he was, and such an original character. When I first came to Ramsgate, it was actually the atmosphere in the Belgian Bar that prompted me to think that this is a place I could settle. Andy will always be remembered and sadly missed. 💗
Andy, a good friend to all, always had a welcome and a smile ready. To me he epitomised the life of Thanet, open, friendly, welcoming, creative and dynamic. My family have had the pleasure of knowing him since the start of the Belgian Bar, even helping out at times. We will really miss him, but I’m sure he’ll be making many new friends in his new place. Our thoughts are with his family.
I appreciate Ian’s sentiments regarding the Belgian Bar. I always brought visitors to the place and was always warmed when Andy approached to shake my hand. The gesture always impressed my visitors so much so that a return was always on the cards for one and all.
Andy was a great ambassador, something the nearby Wetherspoons could never emulate.
A true original. At least he was still able to do the things he loved right to the end.RIP