Monday, 26 August 2013

The Dolphin

When I first set up this blog it was originally to showcase places in Canterbury and the surrounding areas that I love.  It has evolved a bit since then but every so often I want to take it right back to its roots, which normally means a pub tour.  Cue obligatory pub sign photo.
Welcome to The Dolphin.  Across the road from The Parrot, down the street from The Millers Arms, it completes the trio of best pubs located within a hundred yard radius of the River Stour's water mill.   It does boast the achievement of still being Canterbury's only 1930's built pub named after a marine mammal.  Don't believe me?  The sign proves it.  If I find The Humpback Whale lurking down a side street I will be sure to point it out.
Another pub that is extremely popular with the locals, it has a couple of serious points going in its favour.

1) Stacks of board games that you can just help yourself to.  I have spent Christmas Eve in here before very drunk, very happy, probably very loud and playing scrabble very unsuccessfully.
2) Quirky decorations.  I mean seriously, what other public house is decorated with Michelin Men, multiple Fred the Homepride mascot figurines and Tonka Toys?  Somehow, and I have no idea how as it breaks every design rule in the book, it works.  There is even a Meccano Eiffel Tower in the window.
3) Fabulous food.  The menu is brilliant, burger fiends will love The Burger and the chips can (and do) stop a Brit at 30 paces.  The Dolphin takes pride in the fact that it serves 'Good Pub Food', no frills, no meaningless lengthy descriptions, no ingredients you need a dictionary to understand.  It's good quality and comes in huge portions. 
4) Drinks.  Every good pub needs drinks I agree, it kind of comes with the territory, but this place won Pub of The Year and was included in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for the second year in a row in 2012.  Little beauties like these are the reason why.
You may have noticed that The Dolphin has a slightly quirky, humorous edge to it.  For example if you want to order food and have it delivered outside you won't be given a table number.  Nothing so mundane.  Instead you must strut proudly out into the garden with one of these.
Tomfoolery with said sign is also encouraged

There is lots of other evidence of the idiosyncratic nature of this particular pub.  The artwork may give you a bit of a clue. 
However, there are a lot of pubs out there with good food, board games, good drink and a personality.  There has to be more to The Dolphin?  Well, yes there is.  Quite a bit more actually.  It's almost the length of the pub again and in the summertime it is very, very popular.

Welcome to one of the best beer sorry Pimms gardens in Canterbury.

It's that perfect mixture of loungeability (made up but should be a word so it's staying), covered seating, atmospheric lighting and privacy.  Plus which fairy lights always make somewhere look nice.
During the summer months my friends and I tend to congregate here, starting with large jugs of Pimms and moving onto wine and beer as the night draws in.  We love it so much that Steve and I, and John and Ellie last week both held our 'It's-two-days-to-the-wedding-and-we-need-to-relax-with-some-friends-and-not-talk-about-the-wedding' informal gatherings at this pub.  It's that kind of place.  Unlike some of the other pubs, here you can have large groups (I think that there were about 15 of us last week) in one place without annoying other people too much and allow everyone to have a seat.
Inside the pub is significantly smaller but only due to the fact that most of the time the larger tables are reserved for booked parties who are eating here.  If you want a table with friends inside for dinner, book in advance.  Even on a Wednesday.  You can see below that groups were just starting to arrive and fill up the spaces.  
So that's the Dolphin, easily one of my favourite summertime hangouts and for me it is filled with great memories and associated with some of the greatest events of our lives.  It's also just a great place to chill out and relax with friends and family on a long hot summers afternoon. 

No comments:

Post a Comment