Sort file:- Dover, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 31 March, 2021.


10 Oct 2013

Rack of Ale

Closed Dec 2017

7 Park Place


Kenneth Bird Opticians

The "Rack of Ale" is going to be housed in Kenneth Bird Optician's former building. Above picture taken from Google Maps, July 2009.

Rack of Ale building

Above showing the building on 14 August 2013. Taken by Paul Skelton.


Opened on 10 October 2013, as a Micro Pub.


From the Dover Express, 22 August 2013.

Micro pub plan.

DOVER: A “micro pub” is due to open in in Ladywell, opposite the police station.

Trish Gulliford, of Goodnestone, is seeking planning consent to open The Rock of Ale micro pub on the ground floor of the former opticians, at 7 Park Place.


Rack of Ale notice Rack of Ale notice

From the Dover Express, 12 June, 2014.

Micropub racks up a Camra victory.

Rack presentation

C-RACK-ING ALES: Delighted Steve Jenkins and Trish Guillford receive their award from Camra branch chairman Martin Atkins.

THE "Rack of Ale" micropub has scooped an award - less than a year after opening.

The Park Street establishment, run by Steve Jenkins and Trish Guilliford, won the Campaign for Real Ale’s (Camra) Dover branch Cider Pub of 2014 award.

The award recognises the welcome, service, atmosphere and overall value at the pub, as well as the quality of the drinks.

The pub faced tough competition.

From the "Berry" in Walmer, the "Just Reproach" in Deal and the "Green Oak Cider Works" in Waldershare.

The "Rack of Ale" opened in October last year and developed a reputation for super ales, ciders, snacks and its friendly atmosphere, according to Camra.

The pub went through to the finals of the Camra Kent Cider Pub of the Year - but lost to the "Great Tree" in Ramsgate.


From the East Kent Mercury, 16 April 2015.

Less-micro pub.

The owners of Rack of Ale, one of the first micropubs in the area, in Park Place opposite the police station, are seeking planning approval to expand into the building used by opticians Kenneth Bird until 2010.


From the Dover Express, 24 March, 2016.


Small is beautiful, at least as far as pub life is concerned with micropubs leading a resurgence in social drinking using unusual buildings to champion local food and drink. Trish Gulliford of the Rack Of Ale in Dover gives her view on the reasons for the success and we round up some of the best micropubs around...

MOST of you will have heard of micropubs. We are small by definition.. but essentially we are pubs with a twist.

In 2013 my partner and I set up The Rack of Ale and later came the others which are dotted around town.

We offer a diverse mix of atmosphere, attitude and decor. Between us we offer in excess of 20 real ales and more than 60 ciders among a selection of other drinks.

Micropubs cannot be considered the “norm” of public houses. We have a few localised rules which individual micropub owners either police or not - I’m not so strict - others can be. Generally, we limit the use of mobile phones: swearing: games machines are a definite no no... and a few other quirks.

Essentially we are small pubs who bring strangers and friends together. We offer a dog friendly, safe environment for people who want to meet other like-minded individuals for a chat.

We are not all about ale. The products we sell are artisan and those that know what they are doing should have knowledge of all of them. That is the difference. Anybody can serve a pint - but do they know anything about it? We do. We have some weird and wonderful tales to tell.

You can find yourself laughing until faces ache (or the opposite at times). On occasion, the whole pub will end up singing everything from sea shanties to earthy soul.

I spend many hours in my little micropub. I’m there to lean on at times of need - I’m there to laugh with (or at) - I’m there to provide you with a sanctuary that offers quality and value for money. If you haven’t tried it -give it a go.


The Rack of Ale in Dover.

Interview with Trish Gulliford.

Trish Guilliford

Q: How did it start?

A: I needed something to do and a friend of mine suggested a micropub. The shop in Ladywell had been empty for three years.

It had been Kenneth Bird Opticians and the new owner was busy renovating it when we approached him. He has been very supportive ever since.

We opened the Rack of Ale in 2013. It has been gathering pace ever since.

Q: What’s new?

A: Recently we opened the Back Rack where we can stretch out - hold events such as theme nights, pop-up dining, or simply watch the rugby.

All of our ideas are publicised on our website and social media pages. So far we have enjoyed the success of two beer festivals and a very successful ‘40s Swing and Jive Night.

Q: The drinks?

A: We supply around five or six craft ales on tap and gravity, and a selection of international ales on pump. There is a large number of gins, rums, wines and ciders together with a range of posh “softies” (great on their own or with a vodka shot).

If you aren’t sure what to have, we can offer you a choice in the form of a rack which allows you to try out three different beers.

Q: What next?

A: The Rack of Ale loves a gimmick and scheme and is a small business which never sits on its laurels. Instead, it evolves on a daily basis. We are now well known for setting a trend and I for one am proud that others wish to follow our success.

Next theme night: Saturday, May 26, ‘60s night in the Back Rack.


From a Facebook Page 28 November 2017.


It is with great sadness we wish to inform you folks out there the Rack of Ale will cease trading as of close of business Saturday night.

Allow us some time to make it crystal clear as to why. Our landlords have attempted to hike our rent up considerably. They have an agenda driven by another. Way above market value. After taking advice we are aware we already pay above that deemed fair for the area. If we agree to the rental hike it will set a precedent for the area and we are not prepared to allow them to do this. It just wouldn't be viable.

They have increased the rent by 25%. They also want to stop me selling specific drinks. This is simply not fair. Ross Miller - I don't see how you can refer to us as the “Rack of fail”..... we have not failed - we just stand firm on our principals and you should be ashamed for what you said.

Many of you are aware our plans are to ultimately move to France - However, we are not ready to move just yet and intend to keep a base in Dover . Having owned the Rack of Ale for 5yrs now - we can be proud of our achievement. This is just an end to a chapter and the next one will surprise you when we may crop up on our own little corner in Dover. Thank you for being there for us.....

Now - lets party Trish style Friday and Saturday...... In the meantime - the Rack will be closed in preparation for the end I hope you can all make it this weekend to say goodbye to an era - Thank you to everybody who has supported us and continue to do so.

With Love - Trish and Mo.


From the Dover Mercury, 28 December 2017. By Adele Couchman.

Owner of popular drinking place blames large rise in rent for decision to close.

Closed Rack of Ale 2017

A WELL-KNOWN micropub in Dover has suddenly closed after five years of trading.

The Rack of Ale in Park Place suddenly shut last week, with its owner blaming her landlord for the decision.

The popular boozer had a five star rating on TripAdvisor, and described itself as a “lively micropub with a great atmosphere”.

But despite owner Trish Gulliford wanting to end her stint in Dover on a positive note, other businesses claim the micropub owes them money - something she outrightly denies.

Ms Gulliford said: “We have worked tirelessly for this pub.

“We only gave everyone a week’s notice that we were closing the pub.


“The landlords put the rent up more than 25 per cent and I was running a business on my own.

“We are the longest running micropub in Dover, I started the micropub revolution in Dover, and it would be nice to end in a positive way.

“The same happened to me as what happens in pubs, they see you are doing well (landlords) and they want a slice of it.

“We may open again, but without people’s support we would have never been able to keep it going for all of those years.”


Mike Beaumont, who owns the "Four Candles" micropub in Broadstairs, says he is owed a three figure sum by the Rack of Ale.

He said: “It’s not going to destroy our businesses. We are just pretty angry.

“It’s a shame because micropubs are all small businesses and we all pull together.

“We are trying to do something different in a small way - and there’s not a lot of money in it. It’s like being stabbed in the back.” Michelle Gordon, of "Rockin’ Robin Brewery" in Maidstone, added the business was owed 600.

But former Rack of Ale owner Trish Gulliford insists all “finances have been dealt with properly”, saying all outstanding invoices have been “agreed and notified to people”.

She said: “I think it is just a loose end - they have all been contacted and we need to deal with one thing at a time.”

She also staunchly denied owing "Rockin’ Robin Brewery" any outstanding finances.



GUILLIFORD Mrs Patricia & JENKINS Mr S Aug/2013+

GUILLIFORD Mrs Patricia & PARKIN Mo Feb/2016+


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