Canterbury – Unicorn

Working through the list of pubs in the Good Beer Guide (thanks Nathan) this is the first. And, to be honest, it’ll be hard to beat this. Listening to some of the regulars they were supplying quote after quote, some of which can’t really be repeated, a sign of a pub truly at ease with itself   🙂

The welcome was prompt and authentic, it’s nice to be met with a friendly smile and with a member of bar staff who seems personable. It’s clearly a pub which has some contented regulars, but not one which seems unfriendly or slightly scary.

The pub had four real ales on, although all a bit light for my liking. The staff member though recommended the Kernel Export India Porter in a bottle, and this was an excellent recommendation. The taste was rich, and there were notes of chocolate, vanilla and chicken bake (OK,  no chicken bake, but it was that sort of quality).

The staff member poured the bottle carefully to avoid pouring in any sediment, a warning that was repeated on the bottle itself, but there wasn’t really anything at the base of the bottle.

The wooden beams and carpet added to the atmosphere in the whole venue, it feels cosy and atmospheric. There are some items nailed on the wall, including the bugle on the peg, and I didn’t much want to leave, which must be the ultimate aim of any pub. By that I mean they don’t want customers to leave, not me specifically, it would be a bit arrogant to assume that the aim of every pub was to not want me to leave.

I sometimes feel that customer service in pubs seems to be a complete mystery to some staff. But here, it was perfectly paced and I liked how the staff member made conversation when I took the bottle and glass back to the bar.

This is a smooth pub, focusing on being simply a traditional and welcoming location near to one of the city’s two railway stations. I happened to visit at a time in the afternoon when food was being served, but the options looked pretty decent. A perfectly pitched pub.