38 Burnt Oak Terrace, Gillingham, Kent


Popular and worth visiting for more than one unusual reason The Frog & Toad pub in Gillingham sells a huge range of Belgian beers, but it is one type in particular that will leave you 'legless', or more specifically 'shoeless'! The tradition in Belgium if you want to buy the 8% 'Kwak' ale is that you leave one of your shoes as a deposit - to prevent souvenir hunters running off with the elaborate glass and wooden frame it is served in. The glass is shaped like a miniature 'yard of ale' and as it will not rest on the counter it is supported in an ornamental wooden frame, complete with handle, with the combination costing about £5 each to manufacture. The Frog & Toad have taken the idea one step further and have 6 ropes behing the bar which run over the ceiling of the bar to the customers side and are attached to wire baskets. The customer - by now bemused - is asked to deposit his shoe in the basket which is in turn hoisted up to the ceiling, remaining there until the return of the glass and frame. Unscrupulous patrons who deposit a shoe that is obviously on its last legs will be politely requested to stick a £5 note inside as an added security! Big attractive thermal slipper socks are offered to customers who suffer from 'cold feet' and these are washed together with the bar towels, which gives a whole new meaning to smelly feet.

Equally wacky is the inspirational idea of snail racing, and the team who were responsible for the Guinness television advert hosted one such event at The Frog & Toad. It was a huge success, has been held again, and looks set to become the annual World Championships. There were 10 snails in each race all of which had a number attached to their shell. Racing on a damp cloth from a small inner circle to a larger outer circle, the first across the outside line was the winner. Customers backed their favourite snail and, thoughtfully, all profits were donated to good causes.