Karen Constantine behind the var in The Churchill Tavern, Ramsgate

Thanet pubs serve welcome news

No doubt aided by our thriving tourism trade, the number of pubs we have on the Isle of Thanet has remained stable since 2001. Additionally, we are seeing higher growth in employment in this sector than the national average. Figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics show a sad, steady decline in the rest of Kent and most of England and Wales with 18 public houses closing a week.

Thanet boasts 115 pubs of all types. From ‘super’ pubs to homely, cosy locals and micropubs, this area has an enviable choice. I’m sure over the years many local pubs have changed hands, some have been lost for good. However, active groups like our local branch of CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) have worked with the Council to ensure establishments like The Montefiore Arms are protected as Assets of Community Value.

Thankfully, more fresh pubs open regularly. An admirable new one is the ‘Bank’ in Cliftonville. They have fabulous beer, a great gin menu and pub food. Other places such as Churchill’s in Ramsgate, my regular, feature music, a sense of community and delicious dining. The burgeoning micropub presence in this part of Kent even generates tourism with trips arranged from around the UK and abroad. Then, of course, our local business success, Gadd’s Ramsgate Brewery supplies many establishments with ales close to home as well as further afield.

Pubs supporting local employment growth

Great news is that the number of jobs in this area of the hospitality trade has grown by 11.1% over the same period of time. The Office for National Statistics report 900 jobs in 2001 and 1,000 in 2018. Nationally, growth is recorded at 6% so our pubs must be doing a lot right.

More to the point, Thanet’s pubs are vital to our local economy. Many of the pubs in the UK are small, independently owned businesses. They provide income into the local area, jobs for bar staff, cleaners and accountants all benefit. Whilst wages in pubs remain stubbornly below the National Living Wage, a lot of staff enjoy the work.

There are downsides to the night time economy. No one likes rowdy drunks and policing is a high cost. But setting that to one side, pubs are again being seen as places to meet, to eat, and to join in with community. They are integral to our society. They counter loneliness and social isolation which is an increasing problem.

This festive season you can raise a pint in whichever is your great drinking hole, safe in the knowledge that it is good to support Thanet’s locals! Cheers!