Place to Quaff and Quarrel – The Lady Luck, Canterbury

It matters not a jot how long a day I’ve had (travelling back and forth to the Antarctic to tell Lord Thistleface to stop sending me chain letters really takes it out of you). There is always time for a drink or nine at The Lady Luck.
I could never be a one-pub woman, but I have a particular soft spot for this black and red haven in Canterbury’s high street. And it’s not just because I usually end up there at midnight with the beau and the shady figure behind Twitter’s Book of Trains, quaffing ales and playing I’m Shipping Up To Boston on the jukebox.
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon GinThe Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

But, I hear the unenlightened cry, BUT I’ve heard of and seen this place.
Is it not…a rock pub?
A place for goths, and punks, and metallers?
I cannot go there, I’m not any of the above!

(Pinches bridge of nose and exhales). Okay. Let me just explain the pub, and we can come back to this.

The Lady Luck opened in 2009 in the shell of the old West Bar, emerging as Canterbury’s premier rock’n’roll pub and one of the city’s best loved music venues and drinking dens.
Ostensibly a rock bar, it filled the gaping hole in the city’s scene for the alternative music fans. And with the loss of The Beer Cart Arms and The Farmhouse, the little lady has been more in demand than ever for live acts and DJs.
The owners have put their experience of running music nights in London to good use in this, their first pub. Ska, punk, rock, reggae, psychobilly Northern soul acts and DJs all have a home here. Have a peak at their upcoming shows here.

The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
Courtesy of The Lady Luck website
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

It is also the new home of Canterbury’s only 100% metal night, Stone Cold Crazy (formerly of the Beer Cart Arms), and an excellent Sunday night pub quiz (never have I cursed the Eurovision song contest quite so loudly). The pub also transforms a few times a year for its legendary Pirate Nights, and a pool table that has provided me and my cohorts many minutes of entertainment. Mainly because I can’t play, and most of the people I’m with are worse, but the beau is sort of alright. Therefore the varying levels of shitness tend to average out to a dull ache of mediocrity…I’m rambling.

The drinks selection is positively quivering, with spirits a plenty, solid cocktails (two for £8 from 5pm to 10pm and all day Sunday) and a much admired rum selection. Regard:
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

Lager lovers have Red Stripe, Kronenbourg 1664 and Grolsch on tap, as well as Guinness and Westons Stowford cider. The resident cask ale is Doom Bar, with rotating guest beers including recent visits from Wantsum, Hopdaemon, Gadds, Adnams, and the Old Dairy Brewery. In addition, they have a good stock of bottled beers, and can do you two for £6.50. 

The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

Another reason for The Lady Luck’s popularity is that it is a popular ‘after-hours’ venue (open until 2am). One of the things I love about Canterbury these days is that there are several excellent places where I can comfortably chat and drink after midnight without having to scream over the top of club music or abandon my drink to hold back the hair of a sobbing female while she vomits next to your table and laments that fact that her man does not love her soul, only her vagina.

Plus, as I frequently have am dram or music rehearsals on a Friday night, it’s nice to know I can bag a table in decent bar at 10pm and still have ‘an evening’ as it were. Big city folk are spoiled in this respect, but ol’ Canterbury has finally caught up.
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

And thanks to The Lady Luck’s strict rules, the braying lager louts and blind-drunk brides stay away and everyone inside is a generally jovial mood. There is a reason why the pub recently won an award for being the safest pub (more on this at the end); the Luck looks after its customers, and expects them to behave in return, which they do.

The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon GinThe Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

By day, the pub prides itself on its homemade food and it is worth a lunchtime visit. The menu is brimming with tasty classics, with very good vegan options and daily specials. The chefs make many of the dishes and sauces on the premises, including their slow cooked chilli, pies, beer batter, vegan sausages, Thai chilli marinade, and Cajun seasoning. Meat comes from The Good Shed down the road, and their cheeses from the Cheesemakers of Canterbury, also available at The Good Shed.

 
Just look at this special I spied one day. I haven’t tried it yet because I fear for my thighs, but still! It wants to be eaten.
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

This write up was longer coming than I intended as I wanted to sample the food they so proudly promote, so the beau and I visited one Sunday afternoon. He took on the Texas burger, which he remarked was succulent and flavourful, and one could taste the quality of the meat. In fact, I overheard the couple at the table next to us saying the same thing.

The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

I was feeling pious and opted for ‘Ellie’s goats cheese and black olive’ salad. And some Cajun battered prawns on the side because, PRAWNS. Could not fault the dish – generous portions, excellent seasoning, light batter. The beau could not resist the decadent rocky road sundae, which was an oozing delight. The meal was just under £23 for the two of us; damned reasonable, if you ask me (and by reading this, you clearly are). I will be taking more people there to gorge in future.

The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin
The Lady Luck Canterbury, review, The Demon Gin

But all this aside, that initial niggle may still be worrying your collar – it’s a rock pub. I won’t fit in there, and they won’t accept me.

Oh hush! Yes, if you seriously loathe all rock music (do you, though, DO YOU?!), it won’t be your scene. It’s a haven for those that love this scene, and any eye-rolling, condescending looks and request for anything by Michael BASTARD Buble are not welcome, or warranted
But remember that the only dress code here is no sportswear. Look at me (go on); I’m as bohemian as you can get in there, but have I been pushed out the door with a broom while a washer woman screams ‘unclean! Unclean!’? Why no, I have not.
I don’t actually go to the Luck for many of its gigs as they aren’t always to my taste (though even I have a soft spot for some metal). I go to the Luck because it is a great pub, with excellent beers, good food, varied juke box, friendly staff and a general safe and welcoming atmosphere.
Like many of its patrons, the Lady Luck has its own individual style and isn’t changing for anyone. You have to love it for what’s inside. And if you don’t, you are a fool.

The Essentials

The Lady Luck, 18 St Peter’s Street, CT1 2BQ

Tel: 01227 763298.Open 12noon to 1am Mon to Thurs, 12noon to 2am Fri & Sat, 12noon to 11pm Sun.
Food served 12noon to 7pm Mon to Sat, and 12noon to 3pm Sundays.
Regular live acts and DJ nights, quiz every Sunday. Students get 10% on food and drink (T&Cs apply). Beer garden open until 9pm in summer, 7pm in winter.
Excellent Facebook and Twitter pages.

*****
A separate note. I mentioned that The Lady Luck was recently presented with a safer socializing award award. Sadly, the local paper and a councillors printed a story disputing their reputation, quoting new figures on the number of police call outs.

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