DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 2003

Blake's Wine Bar

Open 2018+

52 Castle Street

Blake's Wine Bar Blakes Wine Bar sign 1991Blakes sign 2013

Sign left October 1991, sign right, 2013.

Above with thanks from Brian Curtis www.innsignsociety.com

Blake's Christine Gabriel

CAREER CHANGE: Christine Gabriel, former teacher and now owner of Blake's restaurant and B&B

Ref:pd 551083

Above photo and information taken from Dover Mercury 11 March 2004.

THE best lesson Christine Gabriel learnt was to give up her job as a teacher and follow her dreams.

Christine and her husband Roger are the new owners of Blake's restaurant and B&B in Dover.

After 13 years teaching English and drama at Dover grammar school for boys Christine felt the time was right for a change and the couple bought the Castle Street property in January this year.

Christine says: "I needed a change from teaching. I finished my training in 1978, and had taught all ages since then.

"I used to see the same issues coming round again, and there were constant pressures, such as Ofsted inspections."

Originally Christine thought about opening a book or a coffee shop. The Blake's building was the first property in Dover she looked at. She fell in love with it, and decided to keep the restaurant and B&B set-up.

The business seems to attract former teaching staff; one of the bar staff is an ex-teacher. Christine's husband taught at Dover grammar school for boys for 11 years and now works in the Dover Discovery Centre as an adult education regional manager.

Some of Christine's former pupils have also visited.

Christine describes her manager role as being "a jack of all trades".

She said: "I check that everything is in place for opening and what the chef's specials are. I greet customers during opening hours. But I can also end up trying to sort out plumbing issues if they need tackling."

She adds that her husband Roger often ends up working behind the bar when he visits during his lunch break.

Christine says the best part of her role is meeting interesting customers and chatting to them. One customer has even recited Keats in the downstairs bar.

She also likes the fact that her hours mean she can get up slightly later in the morning. Her working day usually runs from 10am to around 11pm.

Her plans for the building include opening the garden and adding more vegetarian items to the menu.

Friends and colleagues had mixed reactions to Christine's new venture.

"Some said we were mad, while others said go for it," she says.

The thing she misses most about teaching are her pupils and the laughs they had.

Christine and Roger live in St Richard's Road, in Deal. They have lived in Deal for nearly 25 years and have two children, Mark, 22, and Sophie, 18.

Sophie hopes her mother's change of career will come in handy for a summer job during university holidays.

 

From the Dover Mercury, 30 June 2006.

Pub Revamp: New owners plan change.

Blakes licensees 2006

Blakes of Dover has been taken over by Peter and Kathryn Garstin, pictured with chef Fay Cudworth, left, and second chef Patsy Allan.

NEW beers, changed menus and more choice of wines are some of the plans the owners have for Blakes of Dover in Castle Street. Peter and Kathryn Garstin have just the bought the business, which incorporates a bar, restaurant and overnight accommodation.

The couple, both 52, live in Eythorne, have been married for 30 years and have four grown-up children.

Before turning to the hospitality trade, Peter worked in the Middle East as an international banker for most of his career.

Then for the last three years they were tenant landlords at The "Yew Tree Inn" in Barfrestone. When the lease finished in January they left and began a search to buy a pub and restaurant.

"Blakes was the right price and it will be a good business,” said Peter.

Peter, a self-confessed 'real ale fanatic', plans to have up to 20 ales for sale every week. Last year their last pub won CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Pub of the Year Award for Dover, Deal and Sandwich. He said: "We expect to win it again soon."

"He doesn't serve a beer that is not first class," said Kathryn.

Blakes is known for its 52-strong range of single malts and is something the Garstins are keen to continue.

But the couple wish to stamp their own identity on the business and are working with head chef Fay Cudworth to change the menu on a daily basis, introducing more fresh, seasonal and locally produced food. They will also change the wine list.

 

From the Dover Mercury 15 March 2007.

On hearing plans about the forthcoming redevelopment of St James' area of Dover, Blakes Wind Bar have put in the following objection, being told that they will lose their garden.

 

Pub needs gardens.

OBJECTIONS to the proposals came from the Campaign for Real Ale, which said customers at Blakes in Castle Street would miss the garden behind the pub and restaurant.

A CAMRA spokesman said: "The garden is an asset, with its high clematis, covered flint walls providing a unique and surprisingly tranquil respite from the busy town.

"Its loss to Blakes would be critical and it is requested the plans be amended to keep the garden intact."

 

From the Dover Mercury 15 March 2007.

METER BROKEN FOR FOUR MONTHS.

BROKEN parking meter in Castle Street has gone unrepaired for at least four months despite the cost of tickets rising up to 83.3 per cent this year.

Peter and Katherine GarstinThe machine, close to the Market Square, has been covered in Out of Order tape since February and it means that people who want to park on the stretch of road closest to the Market Square have to walk the length of Castle Street to find an alternative ticket machine or risk a penalty notice.

It came to light when the Mercury photographed "Blakes" of Dover proprietors Peter and Catherine Garstin beside the meter in February when they launched a protest against what they called a “deplorable” hike in fees.

In January the cost of parking in Castle Street for two hours went up by a pound to £2.20.

Pacific Ocean Furniture sales assistant Mark Scamp said: “It's been going on for months and people do complain about it.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of this matter. There have been technical issues with the power supply to this machine and we have been in discussion with EDF for some time to try to resolve this.

“We continue to work to find a solution to this matter as soon as possible.”

 

From the Dover Express, 11 December 2008.

IT PAYS TO BE LOYAL.

BLAKES of Dover has launched its own loyalty card, giving customers a 10 per cent discount on selected items of food, drink and accommodation. The card costs £10 per year. The card can be bought from the hotel in Castle Street.

 

From the Dover Express, 9 December 2010.

BLAKES BOSSES OPEN BAR TO NEW OWNERS

Couple seek partners to share workload in their restaurant

Report by Yamurai Zendera

Peter and Katheryn Garstin

THE owners of Blakes of Dover are putting part of their business up for sale in order to ease their workload.

For the past five years the restaurant in Castle Street has been run by husband and wife Peter and Kathryn Garstin, but they now want to lease out the bar and restaurant while retaining the freehold and accommodation business.

In a post on the Dover Forum website, Mr Garstin said: "After five and a half years working our socks off doing food, drink and accommodation all under one roof and with minimal staff, we have decided to sell a new free-of-tie lease on the bar and restaurant.

"We shall retain the freehold and the accommodation business, as well as the top floor flat. We are not getting any younger and want to see more of our grandchildren."

Well-wishers

The Garstins, who have four children, are currently on the lookout for a buyer, but since making their announcement have had plenty of well-wishers.

Dover Forum editor Paul Boland said in a post: "Good luck with whatever you do instead. Must have been hard to reach such a decision, but at the end of the day you get to spend more time with the family."

Terry Nunn said on the same thread: "Blakes, in the relatively short time that it has been there in your custody, has become an institution."

In conversations with this newspaper over the years, the Garstins have often criticised the lack of progress surrounding the Dover Town Investment Zone, which they say would have helped boost trade in the bottom end of Dover and which they were told would came into effect in 2006.

The couple have also campaigned alongside other businesses to try to get parking charges lowered in Castle Street and Russell Street car park.

 

From the Dover Express, Thursday, 16 February, 2012. 60p.

PLAN FOR EATERY OR PUB GARDEN

DOVER: A restaurant or pub garden area could be opened in Castle Street to capitalise on opportunities offered when the St James (DTIZ) development goes ahead.

The initiative is coming from Dover District Council. It is revealed in a planning application lodged this week.

The scheme is to change the use of a space at the back of 50 Castle Street to create a restaurant or pub garden area, along with a long wall and access gates.

 

 

LICENSEE LIST

TOOMEY A -2003

GABRIEL Christine 2003-2006

Last pub licensee had GARSTIN Peter Next pub licensee had 2006-May/2012

UZUNOV Kadrin May/2012

 

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