Monday, 4 October 2010

A Sporting Chance

I recently had Sunday lunch at the Sportsman pub in Cliffsend. At a time when times are tough for pubs, hosts Steve and Nikki are showing how to innovate and adapt. It’s the first pub I’ve seen offering an Ann Summers adult evening, as well as the usual quizzes and karaoke nights. Pop in on the wrong evening and you may struggle with the “what is this object?” round of the quiz!

First impressions count and I liked the desire to sit our group in the pub, despite other reserved tables. Too many publicans seek the earliest opportunity to send you off to the annex restaurant area, where sometimes there are hardly any other people present, and the atmosphere can be fairly soulless. I’m happy to decamp if the pub is full, but it will always be second best to being near the bar.

The Sportsman is a Shepherd Neame pub so the beer is fine and the wine was too. Service is thoughtful and attentive. Those with special diets will encounter every effort to adapt to their needs. Sunday lunch is excellent value and our group sampled all 3 meats on offer chicken, lamb and beef – all quality.

Vegetarians do not have the greatest choice but will have something created to order by the chef. The bar area has sofas for coffee, tables for food, television for the sports addicts and a pool table all squeezed into a building dating back to 1750.

Steve and Nikki will soon be celebrating their first anniversary since arriving last November. Here’s to many more years of great service to the community. They certainly deserve to succeed from my experience.

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