58 White Hart Road
023 9281 1585
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 ‘ti 23:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:00
Formerly known as the American and, more recently, the American Bar, this building replaced an earlier pub on the same site that traded under the names of the Shipwright’s Arms and the Forfarshore Tavern. Bombed during the Second World War (see black & white photograph) and subsequently rebuilt, the house underwent a substantial refurbishment in 1999 when it was renamed the A Bar – with the emphasis being on food. A further refurbishment in the spring of 2008 saw the pub reopen as ABarBistro, with a contemporary design, both inside and out.
The bright and airy interior is smartly presented, with a pale blue and green theme predominating. Upholstered bench seating is in place around the walls of the bar area, with attractive tables and chairs used in the large conservatory and in the smaller restaurant to the left of the entrance. A marble surround fireplace is a focal point on the right-hand wall. There are large works of art depicting local coastal scenes hung around the pub and shelves stocked with wine bottles are displayed at the entrance. The premises is bare-boarded throughout and the ceiling in the bar area is covered with sound-damping polymers to reduce noise levels. Complimentary newspapers and magazines are provided.
At the bar, two cask ales are sold – these being Goddard’s Scrumdiggity Bitter from the Isle of Wight and Courage Directors. Bottles of Portsmouth-brewed Staggeringly Good Staggersaurus are stocked, along with a selection of other bottled and keg beers and lagers. A comprehensive wine list is on offer, plus a good number of spirits.
Upstairs from the pub can be found the company’s sister business, Camber Wines – a popular wine merchant open Mon-Sat 10:00 ’til 22:00, which can be booked for wine tastings and other such events. See website for details.
The pub is very popular as an eaterie and specialises in fish dishes owing to its location opposite Viviers wholesale fish market. The Isle of Wight car ferry terminal is a stone’s throw away on Gunwharf Road.
Pub Operator: American Bar Ltd
Pub Owner: EI Group
Reviewed 12th March 2015
Colour photographs: (above) 30th July 2008 (by Rob Hall); (below, top row, left to right) 30th September 2006; 26th February 2005; 11th May 1989; ; September 1992 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Admiral Drake
8 Kingston Crescent
023 9265 1599
Actual Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu 12:00 ’til 23:00; Fri 12:00 ’til 01:00; Sat 10:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:00.
Dating from 1936, the Admiral Drake was one of many dozens of pubs built by prolific Portsmouth architect A E Cogswell and replaced an earlier pub on the same site. Once at the northern extremity of Commercial Road, significant redevelopment of the area now means that it stands isolated – dwarfed by the Rudmore flyover. The U-shaped bar room is bare boarded, with tiling around the base of the bar counter. Furnished with a mix of traditional tables and chairs as well as high tables and bar stools, the pub has a performance area for live bands to the right as you enter, with a large Union flag forming a backdrop. A pool table and jukebox can be found here – and there is a dart board at the rear of the pub. Various sporting events are shown on television and there are gaming machines available. A real log fire is a welcome sight opposite the bar counter throughout the colder months.
The pub sells three or four well-kept cask ales, with guest beers being sourced from across the country. A Greene King beer is generally offered, with the remaining ales being sourced from both large independents and local microbreweries. There is also a small range of bottled beers on sale, with offerings from both the USA and UK (selection subject to regular change). Traditional Cider is sometimes served on handpump and there is a good range of kegged beers on offer, plus the usual wines and spirits.
A wide range of food is offered at certain times of the day, including sandwiches, paninis, burgers and main meals, with prices being very reasonable indeed – most choices being less than £5.00.
The Admiral Drake is a popular destination for motorcycle enthusiasts and live music fans. Outside events are held during the summer in the pub’s large car park. A patio area is provided year-round. Well worth a visit.
Pub Operator: S & K Hughes
Pub Owner: EI Group
Reviewed 17th January 2015 (updated 18th December 2015)
Photographs: (above) 6th August 2005; (below, left to right) 18th February 1990; August 2003 (by Ray Scarfe); March 1999(by Ray Scarfe); December 1992 (by Ray Scarfe).
All Bar One
023 9283 8880
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 09:00 ’til 23:00; Thu-Sat 09:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 09:00 ’til 22:30
Modern, open-plan bar and eaterie with fine views over Portsmouth Harbour and Gunwharf Marina. A large range of keg beers is offered, including products such as imported Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from California and London’s Meantime Pilsner. A choice of UK and Belgian bottled beers is also stocked, along with a wide choice of wines and spirits, including a choice of quality Champanges and a number of single malt whiskies.
Fully refurbished in February 2015, the decor is modern, with furnishings a mix of standard tables and chairs, high tables, bar stools and upholstered bench seats. The bar has herringbone parquet flooring throughout and the room is lit by a variety of interesting light fittings. A large outside patio is used during the warmer months.
Food is served all day, with main courses averaging £10.
Pub Owner: Mitchells & Butlers
Reviewed 15th January 2015 (updated 23rd April 2015)
Photographed 15th January 2011.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 15:00 ’til 23:00
Converted from a private residence, the Apsley House is tucked away in a side street and faces Southsea Common. The interior has scrubbed floors throughout its large, single bar room and is traditionally furnished. The walls feature exposed bricks and rough plasterwork. To the left of the entrance a games area, with a dart board and pool table, can be found. Gaming machines are situated around the pub. To the right of the entrance is a raised seating area, where a fireplace is flanked by bookshelves. A display of framed bottle labels can be seen towards the rear of the bar room and an impressive collection of ceramic steins are sat on a high shelf above the entrance.
From the bar, three cask beers are served – with Hop Back Summer Lightning and Taylor Landlord being permanant fixtures and Wychwood Hobgoblin, Sharp’s Doom Bar and St Austell Tribute being rotated. Addlestones traditional cider is dispensed from a fourth beer engine. A standard range of other beers, wines and spirits is stocked. A meat raffle is drawn at 2.30pm on Sundays and a quiz is held on Wednesday nights. Live music and karaoke is regularly hosted and major sporting events are shown on television.
Patio seating can be found at the front of the house. Keep an eye out for the friendly pub cat!
Pub Owner: New River Retail (Mantle) Ltd
Pub Operator: P M Wicks
Reviewed 2nd February 2015
Photographs: (above) 2nd February 2015; (below, left to right) 8th August 2005; 18th March 2008; 18th February 1990; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 12:00 ’til 23:30; Fri-Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:30
The Artillery Arms is one of Portsmouth’s most difficult to find pubs, tucked away in a Milton cul-de-sac and once stood adjacent to the tow path of the abandoned Arundel Canal. Originally a Long’s pub, it later became part of the Friary Meux chain of pubs until being sold to local brewer Gale’s in 1990. On 27th March 2015 the lease was taken over by local Hampshire company, Triple fff Brewery.
The pub still retains its traditional two bars, with a large L-shaped lounge and a smaller public bar. The lounge is comfortably furnished and the walls are decorated with prints of cavalrymen and historic maps of Portsmouth and Hampshire. A collection of pump clips are displayed on the bar-back. Up to five cask ales are served – generally two from the Triple fff stable, plus Ringwood Fortyniner and one or two guests from small independent producers. A standard range of keg lagers, cider, wines and spirits is stocked.
The pub is home to two darts teams, cribbage and dominoes leagues, as well as hosting a weekly Monday evening quiz. The public bar boasts Sky sports, a dart board and a pool table, with a jukebox also available. Live music is occasional hosted and a meat raffle is drawn on Fridays and Sundays. The large beer garden offers a covered area for those wishing to enjoy a cigarette with their drink – and there is play equipment available for children. The pub has featured in many recent editions of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide.
Pub Owner: EI Group
Pub Operator: Triple fff Brewery
Reviewed 22nd January 2015 (updated 28th February 2017)
Photographs: (above) 14th May 2009; (below, left to right); 13th July 2008; 3rd January 2005; July 1990.
4 Auckland Road West
023 9282 3497
Licenced Opening Hours: Mon-Thu & Sun 10:00 ’til 00:30; Fri-Sat 10:00 ’til 01:30
With a welcome return to its previous name, the former Owtback Bar underwent a complete transformation in a £500,000 refurbishment by pubco The Chapman Group into what it calls a gastropub and boutique hotel. The premises sports a comfortable and smartly decorated lounge bar, with restaurant area to the rear.
Comfortably furnished with high tables and chairs, leather bar stools and a number of sofas/arm chairs, the main bar area features a striking stained glass decagon skylight and the premises features an array of interesting abstract artworks and ornaments. The atrractive, wood panelled, rear dining room is dominated by a magnificent stone fireplace and overlooks a small south-facing patio garden, which may be accessed from Auckland Road West.
Low-level music is piped through unobtrusive speakers and Sky News is shown on television. The entrance to the hotel (comprising seven rooms) can be found to the rear.
Sadly, the two cask ales that were sold when the pub originally opened have since been discontinued, leaving a somewhat limited choice for beer drinkers. Bottled Newcastle Brown Ale is stocked, plus a small range of lagers and other keg products. A wider choice of wines and spirits is stocked.
Pub Owner: The Chapman Group
Pub Operator: RelaxInnz
Reviewed 7th March 2015
Photographed 10th August 2008.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 14:00 ’til 23:00; Thu-Sat 11:00 ’til 00:00 (no admission after 23:00); Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30
Sporting one of Portsmouth’s most striking and rare pub frontages (see below), the Auckland Arms is a small, comfortable tavern, tucked away between Southsea Common and the Palmerston Road shopping centre. Built for the local Long’s Brewery in the 1880s, the pub provides a welcome retreat and is a pleasant place to go for a pint.
Consisting of a small bar room, with a separate seating area accessed via steps within the pub or from Auckland Road West, the house is furnished traditionally and has upholstered bench seating running around the perimeter of the room. Two small chandeliers hang from original ceiling roses, there is a fireplace opposite the bar counter and a pair of ukuleles are hung on the chimney breast. A piano stands adjacent to the fireplace. Photographs of maritime Portsmouth are displayed on the walls.
The bar offers a choice of three cask ales – two from the Marston’s stable (generally Pedigree and Ringwood Best Bitter, though these do occasionally vary), plus a local beer from Irving & Co. A standard range of other keg beers, cider, wines and spirits is stocked, plus a selection of single malt whiskies.
The Auckland hosts live music most days of the week, with ukulele sessions each Monday at 8pm and Wednesdays at 1pm. Regular blues, jazz and other genres of music are performed throughout the week. The first Wednesday of the month is quiz night (8.15pm).
A small outside patio area can be found on the pub’s Auckland Road West frontage.
Pub Owner: Punch Taverns
Pub Operator: D Rogers
Reviewed 2nd February 2015
Photographs: (above) 2nd February 2015; (below, left to right) 6th August 2005; 18th March 2008; 18th Febraury 1990.