I walk past the LBJ most days, on my lunchtime walk, and had watched the preparations the staff were making, in advance of re-opening, with interest. Sometimes one or two of them would wave, or even shout hello, whilst working on the extensive garden at the side of the pub, including a rather attractive young lady wearing the skimpiest of bikinis. This happened on more than one occasion!I mentioned what I’d seen to one of the girls at work, who happens to live in the village. I’m treading on very dangerous ground here, but women can sometimes be quite catty about other women, so my colleague's remark that “she’s always exposing her flesh” didn’t come as a huge surprise.
What did, was the knowledge that this attractive and very pretty girl used to be in the Channel Four soap opera Hollyoaks. Now that means virtually nothing to me as, hand on heart, I can honestly say I’ve never seen even a glimpse of Hollyoaks, but I did wonder what had brought this former actress to be working a pub, in a small Kentish village.
That’s quite enough of soaps and scantily clad young ladies, even though I know no-one is going to believe that she wasn’t my reason for calling in at the LBJ this lunchtime. For the record, I didn’t set eyes on her, so perhaps it was her day off, but getting back on subject the pub appears to be doing well and I enjoyed an excellent pint of beer.
Having walked past the pub on several occasions since it re-opened, I sort of knew the score. Queue up outside to the left, if you’ve made a prior booking, or is you’re a casual visitor, like me, queue up to the right. I did as instructed, making sure that the barman had noticed me. I was then approached by one of the waiting staff and asked to fill in my contact details.
On our way through the bar, I clocked the presence of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, alongside local stalwart, Larkin’s Traditional. Once seated I ordered a pint of Landlord, which another waitress brought out to me on a tray, along with a hand-held card-machine. Being outside the latter had difficulty connecting to the Wi-Fi, but eventually it accepted my payment of £4.90 – ouch!
The LBJ has a reputation for being pricey, so perhaps I should have expected a five-pound pint, but I have to say the Landlord was in tip-top condition, and definitely worthy of a 3.5 NBSS. The only thing I will say is that possibly the beer is not quite the benchmark pint is used to me, but nevertheless full marks to the pub for looking after it so well.There were plenty of diners and “ladies that lunch” sitting outside as well and with car park that was almost full, I concluded the pub must be doing something right.
It deserves to be a success; especially given the work the staff have put into getting the place compliant with the new guidelines. I include our bikini-clad actress amongst the others, of course. Perhaps she might be there waiting to serve me, next time I call in!