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Actors (and their pet polecat) plan London’s first micro-pub

'The aim is to create a small establishment that promotes quiet and mature consumption of real cask ale'

18 September, 2014 — By Dan Carrier

James Duddy and Jessie Braviner with their polecat, Piccolo, in Fortess Road

A COUPLE want permission to open what they say will be London’s first “micro-pub” in Kentish Town – and plan to name it after their pet polecat.

No bigger than a living room and only serving real ale, The Pickled Polecat is set to add to the list of hip venues opening in the Fortess Road area.

Council planners have been asked to approve the plans submitted by actors Jessie Braviner and James Duddy to convert the former Hellenic Bookshop, which has moved just a few doors down the road.

They decided that the precarious nature of their chosen profession meant they needed something else to do while they were waiting for calls from directors.

After a trip to visit relatives in Kent, the home of British ale, they hit on the idea of opening the Polecat.

Ms Braviner said: “We walked into a tiny place in Ramsgate called The Conqueror that just served Kentish ales and we both just thought this is absolutely amazing. It was so cosy and the beer was incredible. We went home and discussed it. We were looking for something to do between working in the theatre and it was clear to us this was what Kentish Town needs.”

Their pet polecat, Piccolo, occasionally seen on its owners’ shoulders, will become the pub’s mascot.

Fortess Road has recently become a must-visit destination for foodies, with a new butchers, fishmongers, bakers and grocers all thriving, as well as a host of cafés and restaurants.

Mr Duddy added: “We live locally and we felt Fortess Road would be the perfect location. We have watched how the street has such a good feel about it.”

The pair will not be brewing on the premises, but plan to act as an outlet for London-brewed ales.

With a huge rise in small breweries – including the Camden Town Brewery and around 30 others within the M25 – drinkers will be spoilt for choice, they said.

They describe a micro-pub as a place that focuses solely on good ale – though perry and cider, and occasionally wine, will also be on the menu.

Mr Duddy added: “We will not serve any spirits or any lager. There will be no music, no hot food, no television, no games or quizzes. It won’t hold more than 25 people, at most, and the aim is to create a small establishment that promotes quiet and mature consumption of real cask ale. This will be a traditional ale house.”

They plan to open briefly at lunchtime between 11am and 2.30pm, and then later serve drinks from 5pm to 9.30pm.

Mr Duddy added: “We will offer people the chance to buy the ale in take-home containers, but the aim is to offer a small, friendly place for people really interested in beer to quietly meet and contemplate the brews.”

A planning application is currently registered at the Town Hall and the couple hope, if permission is granted, to pull their first pints in November.

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