Plain Jane 080814Margate is in the news again. Described as “the formerly gritty seaside town”, Margate has made its way onto yet another list, coming in at No 4 on The Times newspaper’s “Ten places to be seen this summer”.

Tracey Emin is quoted: her hometown is “romantic, sexy and weird,” and the Turner Contemporary flagged up as “world-class”. It could almost have been written by my esteemed colleague, the Turner and Tracey and all-things-arty fan, Mike Don’t-Get-Me-Started Pearce, who will be thrilled that we can now expect “the art crowd to descend”. It’s a shame, for the sheer entertainment value, that it’s not his week…

Over in Ramsgate, good things are happening too. And not just on the streets, where The Phantom Poo Sprayer reports that its “Dog Dump Tally” (currently standing at 49 with a whopping 21 of the offending offerings turning up in one road alone) is currently “tailing off” (TPPS likes a pun), while expressing hope that the wayward dog owners are finally being shamed into clearing up after their charges. I should hope so. With the yachting fraternity due to sail into town on August 17 for Ramsgate Week, we want everything suitably ship-shape.

Lucky yachters will find an extra drinking venue for their delectation too. Last week saw the opening of The Arch, the latest venture from Miles Wiseman who first brought the eponymous Miles Bar to Harbour Parade. The new bar, set into the arches, on the undercliff, joins Clarey’s Chocolate Lounge as a welcome addition to the mainly marine-based businesses along Military Road.

My son, stating confidently that I would like The Arch because it does house champagne by the glass, marched me along to take a look (and pay for the drinks).

It really is very nice. Exposed brick, metal grilles, gentleman’s club-style leather seating, and sure enough, plenty of fizz (I had a second one).

I quiz Miles for the finer details. Open 11am – 11pm, later at weekends, wifi, food, drinks, coffee, homemade carrot cake, uninterrupted views of the harbour, large selection of bottled beers…

I think how to best summarise. “A cool and trendy bar?”

“No,” he says firmly. “It’s a talk bar rather than a loud bar.”

He points out the bar top made out of pool table slate, and the lights fashioned from gas bottles cut in half.

“What’s the USP then?” I ask.

“Me,” he grins. “Back from the dead.”

Back here in Broadstairs, the locals are braced for the start of Folk Week where we make our annual seamless divide into the Fors and Againsts.

Some of us grab our pewter pots, put the beads in our hair and go forth to dance in the street to the strains of Whisky In The Jar, alongside what my husband likes to refer to as the “hairy maths teachers from Barnsley”, while the others hoist up their indignant bosoms and become over-exercised about an influx of noisy youth and the ensuing sea of plastic cups (which last year were cleared with admirable speed by our refuse collection teams, almost at daybreak).

For those gritting their teeth and clucking, think of it this way: it’s all dosh for the town; it’s only for a week. And if you really can’t stand it, you could always take yourselves off to Margate. And prepare to be seen.


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