I met with the general manager of The Beer Seller this week, a new pub coming to Tonbridge High Street, to be situated on the site of John Angell jewellers, and due to open mid December. Jamie and the team are busy refurbishing the inside – it’s going to be unlike anywhere else we have already! – and sourcing quality libation.
The Beer Seller is a sister pub to The Halfway House in Brenchley, a pub with a great reputation and which specialises in real ale. It will be the same here in Tonbridge with this pub having space for 24 barrels behind the bar! Jamie admits that maintaining 24 may be tricky but that they are likely to have between 10-12 on at any one time. The ale will be as locally sourced as possible using some of the owner, Sam Allen’s existing connections thanks to the Brenchley site and the same ethos will be applied to the wine, spirits, mixers and food.
Jamie has literally grown up in and around Kent pubs and then going onto work in pubs and bars in London. It’s clear that he knows his stuff and is passionate about The Beer Seller and its mission. He and Sam want the pub to be accessible to all – “It’s a pub!” he says – so they are choosing their suppliers carefully to ensure that they don’t make stopping off there on the way home too costly (walking up from the train station it’s the first licensed premises).
Food is going to be what I would call fancy bar food, the likes of charcuterie boards and bowls of prawns (Sankey’s will continue to be their supplier) as well as good ol’ crisps!
I couldn’t take any photos when I saw inside but let me tell you, it’s going to be unique. “We’re bringing the Kent countryside to the High Street,” says Jamie.
We may have to wait a few weeks to visit The Beer Seller but this Sunday, for Tonbridge’s Christmas light turn-on, Jamie will be on the High Street with their portable pub, ‘Wheel Ales’. Jamie is keen to meet people, especially other local food and drink businesses as he understands that collaboration is key. “The more good stuff there is on the High Street, the better it is for the town. People will want to stay.” Pop along and say hi and get a taste of things to come – they have exciting plans!