There is no shortage of boozers in Dartford town. Just wandering down the High Street, four big pubs spring to mind; the Clipper, the Boat, the Bull and Vic, and the Courthouse. All big in size, and reputation.

One pub that I would wager gets overlooked is the Stage Door. It isn't immediately on the High Street, and isn't as big as the others from the outside.

Wanting to avoid repeating myself and going back to a well worn pub, I dared myself to go in for a swift one.

Entering the Stage Door, you can quickly spot the differences between this boozer and those aforementioned. This is small bar with tables dotted along one side leading into a garden, not quite the large open plan space the Boat boasts. Different, but it feels a hell of a lot more like a local.

The Stage Door sells a unique range of drinks - anyone with a taste for Oranjeboom would not be disappointed. Saying that, anyone with a taste for Snakebite would be welcome here as well. Some might say these are questionable choices for pints, but it is a welcome change from the chains plonked along the high street.

The walls are dotted with pictures and memorabilia of stars of past and present that have visited Dartford - probably to perform in the Orchard, from what I could make out. This is the stage door, after all.

The barman seemed friendly with who I am assuming are the regulars. To me, not so much. It was a Thursday, mind, and relatively busy for how small the bar area is, so all is forgiven.

The Door is almost the complete opposite to what you would expect a high street pub to be.It offers a break from other chain pubs and you can trace the Stage Door's history through its decor. It certainly doesn't lack personality, and the atmosphere was provided by a couple of fellows doing acoustic renditions of Blink 182, if memory serves. Again, not to everybody's taste, but hey ho.

The Stage Door, 37 Hythe Street, Dartford.


Decor: ****

Really intriguing to look at the theatre's history and see what famous faces have graced the town. Adds to the personality of the pub as well.

Drink: ****

May not be for everybody but the choice is vast, which is always welcome.

Price: ***


Atmosphere: ****

Busy enough and the performers livened the place up.

Overall: ****