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Barnard Watson was a pioneer of texting. “What ships u got down the docks m8?” he would ask in the 19th century, using primitive emojis known as semaphore flags. The last of the 13 stations that, incredibly, carried his messages all the way from the Kent coast was right on the doorstep of a new pub that has been named in his honour. Watson’s General Telegraph’s 20 beer tap wall, huge all-weather garden, live music, a vinyl only music policy and great food would be sure to flag down the great man as he passed.

History has failed to record how Barnard felt about beer, but with 20 to choose from there’s pretty much something for every taste. An amazing 12 taps are devoted to craft beer, including 8 on rotation. These will be split equally between local breweries and the best that the global scene has to offer. The huge range of craft cans and bottles will be available to take away at a discounted price. There’s also be six hand pull pumps for cask ales and cider, again serving a constantly rotating selection.

Music will be at the heart of Watson’s, and will come on black plastic from the pub’s own record collection of predominately 60s and 70s soul and funk, and a little jazz. They’ll also have DJs on Fridays and Saturdays, an open deck policy on Sundays, as well as record fairs where shops will bring down a selection of their best vinyl for customers to browse and listen to. Elsewhere Good Evening Arts will deliver their highly regarded program of social music – traditional and contemporary jazz and folk from around the world – to the pub every Thursday.

News of the garden has already started to create excitement in the area, with Watson’s creating a year-round space with fire pits and covered areas of comfortable furniture. A huge space, it promises to be a real magnet for those wanting some fresh air, even before the spring arrives. Book the function room and you even get your own section of garden too.


pub hours

Sun - Thurs: noon-midnight
Fri - Sat: noon-1am

Kitchen Hours

Mon-Fri: noon-4pm, 5pm-10pm
Saturday: noon-10pm
Sunday: noon-8pm