The Louis Armstrong
Maison Dieu Road
CT16 1RA
(01304) 204759.


Mon-Sat 11-11, Sun 12-2, 7-11  



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The Louis Armstrong  

Situated in Maison Dieu Road, on the Dover one-way system, opposite B&Q. Two real ales available. The Louis is a very friendly pub that has seen some bands of notoriety play to very welcoming crowds. Very much known as "the music Pub" in Dover - this coming from the fact that they were the very first pub in town to open their doors to "live" music. Topped with the good atmosphere, fine ales and lagers (and food to boot) this is a must for visitors to the town and indeed boasts a very european crowd on occasions. Situated on the A258 on the way to the Ferry Terminal this is one of the pubs with "all day " opening. You will always receive a friendly welcome from this, one of the older pubs in Dover. A potted history of the pub is available. This tavern known by the name and sign of the Louis Armstrong was built in the 56th year of the reign of Victoria in 1893, and was called then the Grapes. It was built to replace a much earlier house of the same name that was demolished as part of a road-widening scheme of that year. This earlier house dated back to the 48th year of the reign of George the third in 1808 and was when first built a dwelling house. It comprised of a main tenement or messuage, with stables and outbuildings.?

It was owned at its founding by Captain Robert Lyne, of Snargate St. in the port of Dover. He was a captain in his majesty's navy who owned this house, two in St. Martins terrace and a row of dwellings in Snargate St. a year after this house was built it was in the occupation of Stephen Chalk, surgeon and apothecary. He lived here between the years of 1808 and 1819 the year in which he died. His possessions and his estate of 20 guineas passed to his wife Amelia, a milliner of the port. She lived here until her death in 1823 and may well have conducted her trade from the house, since she is recorded under that description throughout that period.?

In that year of 1823, Mrs. Mary Lyne, widow of Robert granted one Julius Winter a Millwright of Buckland, a lease on this house. In 1832, whilst still occupied by the family of winter, one James Winter miller and son of Julius obtained a beer-house license under the terms of the 1830 beer act, which enabled any householder of good character to obtain a license to sell beer from a dwelling or tenement of rateable value by merely paying the small sum of 2 guineas to the department of excise, thereby avoiding the necessity of applying or being presented to magistrates.?

And so in May 1832 after having paid his two guinea fee to the excise James Winter opened the doors of this house and beer was sold from it for the first time. The house at this date bore no title of registration other than that of a beer-house in Charlton Back Lane, which was what Maison Dieu road was then called, though in earlier documents the house is referred to as being at Maison Dieu Fields. When the house opened for business James Winter is recorded as a miller and beer-retailer, it is possible that he still worked at Buckland mill, whilst his wife Naomi ran the beer-house.?

By 1853, the widow winter was the sole keeper of the house, James Winter having died the previous year. In 1854, the executor of the estate of Mary Lyne sold the beer-house to Poulter and son, brewers of Charlton. The widow Winter gave up the house and in June of that year the house was leased to George Marsh, a beer-retailer of Russell st. by this date the house had come to be commonly called the Grapes beer-house. George Marsh was here until 1861, when Jesse Gibbons took over; he was here until 1872.?

The year of 1872 was significant in as much that in that year the 1830 beer act was abolished and all houses' licenses under it had to come under magisterial control or close. The Grapes, after being licensed to sell beer for only 40 years was finally granted a full license, at the same time it was purchased by the Thompson and Wootten brewery of queens st., Ramsgate, and leased to William Henry Gray, innkeeper of the port of Dover, who for many years had run the White Hart Inn in Dolphin lane, Dover with his brother Louis. The White Hart was another of the houses purchased by Thomson and Wootten.?

William Henry Gray kept the Grapes for 42 years until his death in 1914. In 1893 he became the last keeper of the earlier Grapes and the first to draw ale in the present building. In 1914 he was succeeded by Henry Nokes and he in 1918 by Mrs. Lilian Elms, she kept the house until 1922 when she handed over to Edward A. Dane and he in 1926 to George Arthur Ralph who was here for many years to follow. In 1949, Thompson and Sons of Walmer sold the Grapes to the Charrington brewery. In 1962 the present owners Robert William and Jacqueline Frances Bowles took over the Grapes as tenants for the Charrington brewery. In may 1972, in memory of the late great jazz trumpeter who had died on July 6th 1971 the Bowles? changed the name of the house from the grapes to the Louis Armstrong. In 1981 they purchased the house from the Charrington brewery and it became a free house.

Food is served here as bar snacks & meals made to order. Bands several nights a week plus jam sessions No accommodation here



None as yet 





beer, food, beer garden, music  


©Beerguide 2023


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East Lee Guest House
108 Maison Dieu Road, Dover
Kent, CT16 1RT. (01304) 210176.
from D:?50
Maison Dieu Guest House
89 Maison Dieu Road, Dover
Kent, CT16 1RU. (01304) 204033.
From S:£30-£35, D:£45-£55