South Tonbridge Social

The beginning of April saw the branch achieve one of its largest turnouts in recent years for a mid-week branch social. The event in question was a mini-crawl of the pubs in the southern part of Tonbridge.

Cardinal’s Error, Lodge Oak Lanecardinals

We met at the Cardinal’s Error, in Lodge Oak Lane, where we enjoyed some well-kept Harveys Best Bitter. We had the left-hand section of the pub virtually to ourselves, which was just as well seeing as there were nine of us present. It was particularly nice to see some new faces turning up. The Cardinals is one of the oldest buildings in Tonbridge, but has only been a pub since 1949. Prior to this, the attractive tile-hung building was a farmhouse.

From the Cardinal’s we moved on the short distance up Tudeley Lane and then down Pembury Road to the Primrose. This small white-painted, weather boarded pub also had Harveys on offer; the London Pride being off that particular night. The interior of the Primrose is divided up into a number of cosy drinking areas, but the night of our visit coincided with England’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, so the pub was quite busy.

Primrose, Pembury Roadprimrose
Our party then split into two groups for the next part of the crawl. Some of us popped along to the New Drum in Lavender Hill, whilst our chairman, and a number of others went on to the Punch & Judy, in St Stephen’s Street, where it had been agreed that they would meet up with a couple of people that we had left behind in the Cardinal’s Error.

The New Drum had Greene King IPA, Harveys plus Larkins Traditional on sale. Unfortunately the Larkins was on the verge of running out and by the time I got served it had all gone. The Harveys Best was an acceptable alternative, but it would have been nice to have had something different for my third pint of the evening. The pub was packed with football supporters, all glued to one of several large-screen TVs that can sometimes seem to dominate this pub. Some visitors to this site may remember the New Drum’s previous incarnation, when it was known as Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A silly name for a pub yes, but for more years than I care to recall “The Cabin” served as my local. When it became the New Drum, its then owners Tony and his son Matt, opened the pub up, utilising what had previously been a seldom used dining area, whilst at the same time moving the bar back. I have to say I do much prefer the new layout, and it was nice to see the pub so busy on a Wednesday night.

New Drum, Lavender Hill

Whilst at the New Drum a call was received from our chairman, Ian; the Punch & Judy had no ale on that night, so the other half of the party had decided to move on to Wetherspoons. We arranged to meet them there after we had finished our pints. The Humphrey Bean had a variety of different beers on offer. I sampled the extremely well-hopped Biter & Twisted from Harviestoun Brewery in Scotland, plus Border Bitter from Spinning Dog Brewery from close to the Welsh border in Herefordshire. Also present in the pub were two other local CAMTRA members who seemed to know by telepathy that we might be there.

So ended what was all in all a very interesting and enjoyable evening.

Humphrey Bean, High Street