January Blues?

Let us help!

As many of you may be aware, January is statistically the most depressing month of the year. People give up drinking in a desperate bid to make themselves feel better after the hammering their livers have taken over Christmas. Many join gyms, give up treats, and make vows that they’re never going to be able to keep. In response to this, we at The Northern Seaman are taking steps to make January the BEST MONTH YET.

It is nearly a year now since we lost one of the greatest popular figures of the last century. The English singer-songwriter and actor David Bowie sadly passed away on the 10th January last year. Bowie was one of the greatest musical innovators of our time, and an important influence on many, both musically and personally.

bowie

We are marking the date by celebrating “Bowie Week”; a week of fun, festivity and music to honour him.
We start on Saturday 7th with music from Lauren Forster. The musical entertainment continues with our main event on Tuesday 10th January (the anniversary itself) with a mix of Bowie tributes and Bowie-influenced songs from varying artists by Andy White and Richard Moore.
On Wednesday 11th we will be hosting our usual Geek Night with a twist; it will be a Bowie themed Geek Night!

Be Inspired

We are also thrilled to announce that the Inspirational Nights done by the talented Lisa Vigour have now become a regular monthly night on the third Thursday of every month! We are super excited to work with Lisa on this to improve what is already a fantastic experience, and we love hosting you all! The next inspirational night will be on Thursday 19th January.

inspirational

That’s all for now, but more updates to follow next week!

I look forward to seeing you all soon 🙂
Micro-love,
Sam

 

New Year’s Antics

Party Animals

If it’s not already clear from all the photos on our Facebook page, we at The Northern Seaman love a big party. We take pride in how inclusive we are as a community and this really shone through on Christmas Eve. The pub was buzzing with people and there was a great atmosphere about the place. Take a look for yourself!

But amazing as it was, this was just a trial run for what will be the biggest party of 2016; New Year’s Eve!
We’ve got a bolstered selection of ales, ciders and wine. We’ve got live music. We’ve got midnight entertainment and late-licencing to the early hours of the morning. And our entry price? – Well, it wouldn’t be all-inclusive unless it was absolutely free. We want everyone who wants to experience the Seaman in party mode to get the opportunity! However, I’d advise you to arrive early to get a good seat!

Our band tonight are the well sought-after Acoustic Chairs. They return to us for the second time in popular demand. They play an eclectic range of covers and originals, all of which we’ll be singing along to I’ve no doubt!

So from all of us at The Northern Seaman, we’d like to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to sharing a drink with you this evening.

Micro-Love,
Sam, Tim, Max, Craig, Jess, Matt, Emily and Hev 🙂

A Tale of Two High Streets

Quit Dickens Around

As many of you are aware, this weekend Rochester plays host to an incredible selection of garishly-garbed characters in our bi-annual celebration of all that is Charles Dickens. The Dickens festival marks one of the busiest times of the year for the tourist hotspots in Rochester: the cathedral, the castle (which plays host to the xmas markets) and the cobbled high street that sits just beneath the two. Whilst the festivities bring people in their thousands to our beloved Rochester, I cannot help but feel that we on the other side of the high street (near the old station) are left out to dry on such occasions.

Anyway, I’m not writing this to moan. What I actually want is to open your eyes to just how brilliant the old high street really is (and yes before you ask – our section of the high street is actually the older of the two):

We have several independent cafés and restaurants, each with their own unique feel and style. From the Café Moroc to the 1940’s tea room (Memories are Made of This), all the way to greasy spoons such as Piggy’s, African Cuisine, plus a plethora of Chinese restaurants. I could go on for hours but I’m sure you get the message – it’s eclectic and varied!

Bridging over to places to enjoy a drink we still don’t disappoint; The Nag’s Head and The Ship have served this high street for decades and I often find myself in both watering holes after work. Fancy something more upbeat and bar-like? Try Poco Loco’s – a cultural storm and a buzzing live music scene make this bar a must-visit for nights out and after-hours drinks. More recently the high street has played host to a new 21st century phenomenon; the micropub. First on the scene was the Flippin’ Frog, serving not only local drinks but also delicious food cooked from locally sourced ingredients by their star chef – Melanie. Finally, on the 27th June, The Northern Seaman (Rochester’s newest micropub) burst onto the scene. Like the Flippin’ Frog we serve locally sourced ales, lagers, ciders and wines. We host several events per week including quizzes, live music and charity nights, along with a vegan roast every Sunday.

Taking all this into account, why WOULDN’T you want to visit the old high street this weekend? Oh and I forgot to mention; lower rents in this regeneration hotspot mean you won’t have to pay through your nose to get something of real quality. So come on down and show us all some love. You won’t be disappointed.

A Few Updates

Back down at the Seaman we’ve had an incredibly busy few weeks. The pub has played host to several more local bands who livened up our music Sunday’s and Monday’s even more, the highlight of which were the duo ‘Acoustic Chairs’ who played last Monday evening.

music

We know you all like a good ‘drinks’ update, so it is with great pleasure that I can announce that we’ve started buying in craft beer bottles. Whilst our selection is very small at the moment it’s something we intend to expand on in the near future and we’re more than open to any suggestions you crafties may have!

craft-beer

Colder weather also brings with it the need to keep warm, so we decided it was time to get the mulled wine flowing!

wine

Finally, the bigger news this week is the refurbishment of the upper bar. Good friends Ben and Jonny have been extremely generous in their skills and time to create this developing masterpiece. We’d also like to throw a special shout out to Michael Gadsby, a local artist who provided the artwork.

Whilst currently undergoing further work, we are extremely proud of how quickly it’s taken shape and will post another update with pics once it’s complete!

back-bar-3

That’s all for now folks other than the usual board/stock update:
Curious Brew is back on tap for you lager lovers, and we’ve got several new beers in from 4 different breweries this week for you to enjoy!

boardbusylager

See you soon and thanks for reading!

Micro-love,
Sam 🙂

 

 

Blogtastic!

A Rare Update

We are all too aware of the fact we’ve left a lot of you in the dark regarding blog posts over the past few months. HOWEVER, we are back, and with a vengeance 🙂

Scran

As many of you may be aware from our Facebook posts we’ve started to provide vegan food on certain days of the week. Speaking to local residents we established a real need for more vegan-friendly establishments on the high street. This is something that, with the help of our friends from Café Moroc, along with our new Head Chef Steph (Ponga Foods) we can successfully do.

Currently, we offer vegan hotpot/tagine on a Tuesday evening, along with a full-blown Vegan Sunday Roast on a Sunday.

We are continuing to diversify our beer selection with new breweries supplying us weekly. However, we are remaining faithful to Range Ales Brewery (our very first supplier), who’s vegan ales (Golden Shot, Black Ops & Double Tap) we have on every week!

Most recently this week we’ve had a few beers in from the Rockin’ Robin Brewery:

15128549_10154066380047596_934532130_n

Thank You For The Music

Sunday night marked our biggest musical extravanganza yet, with Matt Brooks and Martin Morris both doing sets through the evening. The evening was a fantastic success; building upon our previous Sunday/Monday night music scene and further enhancing our status as a music venue.

15046194_10154066376707596_1864980690_n

We’ve just begun final refurbishment on our top bar/staging area. The finished product will include sound-proofing, soft furnishings and even more space for you to drink our delicious ale.

More updates on our shenanigans to follow.
Micro love,
Tim, Sam & Max 🙂

 

Passing On My Parade

As regular readers will know, we at The Northern Seaman passionately believe in our part of the High Street, and think there’s huge potential to create a real ale hub – or Medway “Micro Mile” – in this part of the town. We were excited to learn recently that two new ventures are also planning micro-pubs nearby, which will really help to create a scene that attracts more visitors to this up and coming end of the High Street.

But more can be done to promote the many great businesses here. For example, I recently discovered that during the hugely popular Sweeps Festival, the main parade begins not at the top of the High Street, but on New Road. So instead of promoting various local businesses, the parade walks by predominantly residential dwellings on New Road. This feels like a missed opportunity.

sweeps

A Call to Arms

Next year’s Sweeps Festival may seem a long way off but change takes time to implement. We’d love to work together with our neighbouring businesses to ask the festival organisers to include this stretch of the High Street in the parade route. This would be a real vote of confidence in the regeneration of the area, and a testament to the vibrancy of Medway as a whole.

Let us know what you think at thenorthernseaman@gmail.com

In other news, we held our very first Geek Night this week – an interactive new spin on the traditional pub quiz. The first quiz was all about Game of Thrones and it was a huge success. Keep your eyes peeled for future quizzes – we’ve got Star Wars, Dr Who and Harry Potter among other themes planned! We’d love to hear if you have any other ideas for quizzes you’d like to see.

 

We’re also continuing our live music programme, with our very own Sam Seaman – a professional musician – taking to the stage on Sunday with his housemate, Ryan.

Micro-love
Tim

Does Size Matter?

What’s in a Name?

Since we started on this amazing and sometimes crazy journey, a couple of people have questioned whether we fit the mould of a traditional micropub; particularly given the slightly larger than average size of our premises. Although micropubs have been around for a few years now – and Kent is indisputably the bedrock of the micro movement –  there isn’t one single official definition of what a micropub should be. And that can only be a good thing.  Variety, after all, is the spice of life.

That said, there are certain essentials that every micro should offer, and using the Micropub Association’s definition as a starting point (they say: ‘A Micropub is a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks’) I’d like to share with you the Northern Seaman’s philosophy:

Firstly, at the heart of our pub is an absolute commitment to real ale done well. This weekend alone, we’ll be serving 8 different ales – all from small, local microbreweries (plus some great local ciders) – all gravity-poured straight from the cask. We know that for our customers, quality is everything, which is why we have invested in a cooling room to make sure every pint is perfect.

As for promoting conversation, go into any micropub in the Medway and you’re guaranteed a warm Kentish welcome (and you’ll almost certainly leave having made some new friends), and the Northern Seaman is no different. We pride ourselves on our friendly, sociable atmosphere and, like with all micros, our visitors quickly find that they don’t miss the music, games machines, TVs or pool tables you find in bigger pubs. The only music we ever play is live and acoustic – we were delighted to host an up and coming band (Heir) last week, and we are scouting for new talent to play at future live music nights.

As for food, yep, we do the traditional snacks – we have a great range of Kent Crisps with flavours ranging from Beef and Spitfire ale to Salt Vinegar with Biddenden Cider – but we’re happy to leave the proper hot meals to the experts elsewhere on the High Street.

Where do we break the mould as far as micropubs go?  Well (and controversially for some) we also serve lager – but in keeping with our dedication to high-quality, locally-sourced products,  it’s an award-winning, Kentish lager made a few miles away in Tenterden (Curious Brew – it’s excellent). And we have a wide range of local wines (including limited stocks of Chapel Down’s amazing Orange Bacchus, England’s first orange wine) and even Kent gin and vodka.

13695254_10153736369237596_576784205_n

Not everyone wants to drink real ale, and we know our customers really value having that choice – as well as the opportunity to support local producers! Maybe this makes us Kent’s first micro bar instead? We’d love to know your views on that.

Oh, and there’s also the small matter of our size. Despite being just one room (like pretty much every micro), we’re still a little bigger than most. But that just means that there’s more to love!

 

13695114_10153736377822596_734207922_n.jpg 

Maverick Spirit

More importantly than size or location, we believe that micropubs are bonded by the owners.

A passionate bunch of mavericks with a vision for their businesses, a vision to serve good ale in the communities they live in, a stick it to the man attitude; taking on the big boys and beating them at their own game. A determination to put the customer at the centre of what they do; listening and acting on feedback – something a major chain could never easily do.

When we embarked on this journey as a band of enthusiastic amateurs we were in some ways very naïve and have had to learn some things the hard way. However, when I look back on what we have achieved in such a short space of time with an inconceivably tiny budget, I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved!

A small reminder to you all; we will be launching our new opening times with a party tomorrow Friday 15th at 12 Midday (and continuing through the weekend!)

We look forward to hosting you this weekend!
Micro-love,
Tim & Sam 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Music, Brewing and the Maiden Voyage

We’ve had an extremely busy fortnight at the pub, with lots to report. However, with a very busy final week at the Cathedral, I’ve not had the time to update the blog! So strap yourselves in, because this is going to be a long one…

Firstly, as many of you know, last Monday was our first LIVE music night! The evening was a huge success. The band Heir performed two phenomenal sets, complimenting their own original compositions with a few neatly interspersed covers. The night reassured us as to the capability of our venue to host such live music; with the upper bar area morphing neatly into a stage worthy of any small concert venue.

13650437_10153730914422596_1869006151_n

Fun was had all around, and the band merchandise sold out to our eager listeners!

13652605_10153730914297596_1187586079_n(The band and I after their set)

The Range Ales Brewery

As many of you know, our intention is to use the vast cellar space in our premises to start brewing our own ales. This not only allows us to pursue and share a hobby with all our customers, but we intend to form/join a brew-house syndicate, allowing us to offer a much greater variety of ales and also maintain the £3 pint long into the future!

Jim, the master brewer at the Range Brewery very kindly offered me the chance to go and help out on a brew day. Not only allowing me to see how it is done, but also giving me the chance to give it a go myself!

Here are a few pictures of the day to show you what I got up to!

13644391_10153730913407596_393284607_n

Doughing in.

13115320_10153730914037596_1635696485_n

Doing a bit of firkin cleaning!

13652422_10153730913377596_1217401652_n

Cleaning out the mash waste.

13672518_10153730913992596_3468628_n

More cleaning!

13664632_10153730914097596_635221811_n

The rolling boil in the kettle before hopping.

The wort (unfermented beer) goes through a heat exchange to rapidly cool it from ~80 C to ~25 C as it is transferred into the fermenter.

13664360_10153730914207596_2119714177_n

Jim using the hydrometer to check the gravity.

At about 3pm we pitched the yeast, bringing the brewday to it’s conclusion. I had an immensely enjoyable time, and thoroughly look forward to joining Jim on a brewday again sometime soon!

The Maiden Voyage

We are delighted to announce that Friday 15th July marks the point at which we will be open for 6 days a week. To celebrate this, we are having a weekend of frivolity to which you are all cordially invited! We will open our doors at midday (12pm) for you all.

I leave you with the exciting news that last week saw our first customer drinking horn; how cool is that!

13649457_10153730914387596_2140957922_n

I look forward to seeing you all for a celebratory drink at the weekend.

Micro-love,
Sam 🙂