Sort file:- Gillingham, March, 2022.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 05 March, 2022.


Earliest ????

Central Hotel

Dec 1984

(Name to)

Watling Street / Featherby Road


Central Hotel

Above photo, date unknown.

Central Hotel 1953

Above photo 1953. Kindly sent by Jeffrey East.


Built in the 1920s as one of the "Road Houses" this contained a large parking area and function hall. It stood on the A2 Watling Street at the junction of Featherby Rd.

Originally called the "Central Hotel," this pub was renowned for being a bit of a disco pub. It then changed name to the "Avenue" and in the 1990's change again to "Bar Rio."

The decor contained many murals on the walls in the 1960s, and this was a popular venue for live bands.

This used to be a halfway stop for the busses from between London and East Coast, but this almost stopped around 1964 when the M2 was completed and the Farthing Corner services opened.


Information supplied by Alan Smith:- The building was the property of Charlie Cox from the 1960s who owned an empire of licensed premises in the Medway area. He also had the franchise for beer tents at Kent Cricket. During the summers at weekends the large parking area was used by coaches & buses en route to Margate & Ramsgate on outings. It was nothing to see 15 to 25 coaches and in some cases London Transport red buses taking a pit stop.

The main building was of the Olde English style, red brick & mock beams. The Private Bar was interesting in that it was wainscotted throughout and at the top of the wainscotting ran a shelf round all four sides of the room. On this shelf was an amazing collection of ceramics some Delft type carvers & servers but mainly a fantastic collection of “Toby Jugs” some in the traditional Toby & Wife style but a lot of the others of prominent military, naval, political & royal persons. Marshal Foch, Field Marshal Haigh, Admirals Beatty & Fisher from WW1. Monty, Eisenhower, De Gaulle etc from WW2. Kings George 5th & 6th.

With the demise of the licensed trade the Central soldiered on into the 1980s finally in the guise of a Night Club. Old man Cox having died the empire had passed to his son who rapidly cashed in his assets finally in the mid 80s the pub, its club and all outbuildings were demolished and the site is now the site of a small housing estate.


Bus outside Central Hotel 1964

Above photo kindly sent by Garth Wyver.



COX William Samuel Charles 1934+

COX Charles A L 1960-77+


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-