Food & Drink

the board room – beers, boards and bonhomie

The Board Room stands on Harbourside at Folkestone Harbour.  Its majestic sign beckons you across from the Goods Yard to play at this latest entertainment venture.  The Board Room offers you beer by Iron Pier, nibbling boards of charcuterie and cheese, and games.  18ft long, beautifully crafted wooden shuffleboards fit across the converted containers, and electronic dart boards adorn the sides.  Owners Helen Farrow and James Hayward talked to Folkelife about the games, the beer and their excitement in being a part of Folkestone Harbour.

James: “We absolutely love Folkestone.  Every weekend it would get to Friday and we would pack up our campervan and head down here for quality days off.  Then we wondered why we were doing this every weekend?  Why not just move down here permanently and I would commute back to Gravesend for the business?”

Helen: “That made sense to me because I would be down here full time!  So we moved down in 2021 and haven’t looked back.  James heads up the production side of Iron Pier Brewery in Gravesend so he has to go back, but now we have employed a brewer – Joe – who lives here too actually! – and his involvement has freed James up to do more ventures like The Board Room.”

a community space

James: “Our tap room for Iron Pier Brewery in Gravesend is more of a community space.  We’re based in a large residential area but on the edge of an industrial estate.  When you think about pubs ‘back in the day’ they always used to be a social area.  If you needed an undertaker, you’d go to the pub, if you needed a carpenter, you’d go to the pub.  Everyone would know the right person for you and that’s how work was done.  It was also the place to socialise, without any pressure.  And that’s what we want to create here.  A place where people can enjoy meeting new, like-minded friends; have some fun and drink some decent beer and wines in a space where you feel comfortable.”

Helen: “We’re going for a very relaxed feel here in Folkestone.  Mid-century, Palm Springs, nods to Art Deco, classic chilled space with low sofas and landscaping outside.  The added fun to the area is our entertainment in the form of Shuffleboards and Digital Darts.  Digital Darts are electronic dart boards which add everything up for you – taking the stress out of that bit – but also provide more versatile games to play than just 501 or 201 darts.  It makes it a lot more fun. 

The Shuffleboards are these beautiful wooden 18ft boards with wooden pucks.  Shuffleboard is that game they played on cruise ships in the 1920s, sending the wooden pucks down the length of the ship to collide and knock out the other team’s pucks. It’s like Curling, but without the brushes and ice!   Well, ours are boards on legs, so playing at waist height, and it’s really quite hard, but a lot of fun.  We are thinking of getting a league together and ramping up the competition!”


The Board Room
Iron Pier
The Board Room
The Board Room Boards
The Board Room Shufl Playing

boards and boards

James: “And to fit with the board theme, not only will we have board games but food boards as well – charcuterie and cheese boards to nibble on while you play.  You don’t want to be ordering a burger or something that will go cold, so our platters will be good sharing options that you can graze on throughout your time with us.  Our focus is to celebrate the local suppliers we have so Dockers is providing our bread.  Pleasant Land Distillery will be providing the spirits as they make some really tasty products and they’re made just down the road from here.  I’m a beer lover but Helen here loves wine, and it’s important that you find a drink that suits you when you come to us.  So there’ll be something for everyone.”

Helen: “Folkestone Harbour is great during the summer, and when you get sunny weekends it all goes quite mad!  But we’re wanting to build up some regular events that will take us through the winter months too.  So we could have the Shuffleboard League running on a weekday and then it would be great to have a Championship here to bring people from over the county to play.  It means that there are things to do, in a great space, indoors when it’s raining and cold, as well as when it’s beautiful out there.  We can just swing open the doors of our massive space and let that sea breeze in.”

making friends

Helen: “We’ve met so many people since being down here that I think we’re going to get a lot of support.  One of the things we’ve been talking about with friends is doing a Folkestone Tap Takeover in September.  Lee and Lauren from The Beer Shop are great, and we consider them good friends of ours, Sean and Jeannine from Hoppy Matrimony have been great too.  We’ve teamed up to deliver something later in the year and that’s how we mean to go on.  Making connections, making friends, promoting different businesses in Folkestone and joining together so that people can really enjoy a good time with us, and across the town.”

discover more about folkestone below

The Goods Yard – Folkestone Harbour
Sole Kitchen, Harbour Coffee, Sailbox and The Fish Shack
Little Rock – Fresh Fish Right By The Sea

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