128 Elm Grove
023 9282 2000
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
This pub originally traded as the Elms and was constructed in 1936 to a design by A E Cogswell, replacing an earlier tavern of the same name that had existed since at least the mid 19th century. Originally part of the Brickwood’s Brewery estate, the pub ended up in the hands of Whitbread before being sold on in the 1990s. A refit in the early 21st century sadly saw the demise of the original name and the house was relaunched as the Deco.
The large, single bar room is split level and has a rather garish purple and red decor. The floor is mostly carpeted, with a section of laminate running along the length of the bar counter. An art deco theme prevails here, with vinyl upholstered seating and varnished tables with chrome legs. Various framed retro posters of American images are displayed on the wall beyond the far end of the bar counter. A trio of gold discs is displayed above the picture rail.
A pool table is located at the far end of the room and there are televisions set into the bar-back and on a shelf to the rear of the pub. There are gambling and quiz machines on offer.
DJs play a wide variety of musical genres Wednesdays to Saturdays and a pub quiz is hosted at 8.30pm on Sundays.
Up to four cask ales are sold, with beers from the likes of Caledonian, Ringwood, Wychwood and Brains often featured. Additionally, a good range of bottled beers is stocked. BrewDog Punk IPA, Robinson’s Trooper, Ringwood Fortyniner and Old Thumper, plus Charles Wells’ Banana Bread Beer could all be found during a visit in February 2017. Three traditional, boxed ciders are also served. A standard range of other keg beer, lager, cider, wines and spirits is served.
Pub Owner/Operator: M D A Becker
Reviewed 23rd February 2015 (updated 28th February 2017)
Photographs: (above) 30th September 2006 (below): 18th February 1990; March 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 14:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 12:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:30
Typical of Stamshaw’s public houses, the Derby is a true street-corner local. Dating from the late Victorian era, the pub has retained the same name for well over a century. Threatened with possible closure in the early 1990s, the pub was thankfully refurbished and now consists of a large single room, carpeted throughout, with traditional furnishings and bar stools aligned along the counter.
Two dart boards are located at the front of the pub, in what was once the public bar, together with a pool table. Poker is played, gaming machines can be found in the pub and Sky Sports is shown on television. A collection of sporting trophies is on display and there are old framed prints of Portsmouth on the walls. Of particular note is the extremely rare (probably unique) etched Phœnix Brewery window facing Lower Derby Road.
2011 saw real ale introduced to the pub for the first time in a number of years. Well-kept Sharp’s Own Bitter was on offer during a visit in January 2015 and there is a good range of keg beers, lager, cider, wines and spirits, including a single malt whisky.
The pub does a good degree of charity fundraising and there are a number of collection tins in which customers can place donations. A meat raffle is held on Fridays at 9pm.
The Derby’s beautiful floral displays are a notable feature on the front of the pub throughout the summer months. There is a small south-facing patio garden at the rear of the pub. A deservedly popular local.
Pub Owner: Southern Counties Taverns
Pub Operator: D N Bryan
Reviewed 31st January 2015
Photographs: (above) 30th September 2006; (below, left to right) 14th August 1988; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).
58C High Street
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00 ’til 20:00; Sat 11:00 ’til 22:30; Sun 12:00 ’til close
(closing times subject to change, depending on level of custom)
This small bar, housed in a former shop premises, is the brainchild of the former licensee of the nearby Swan pub, which sadly closed for business in 2016. The one-roomed bar is traditionally furnished and includes a row of stools alongside the bar counter. At centre stage is a pool table and a large, flat-screen television is affixed to the wall, diagonally opposite the bar. A large collection of banknotes from around the world is displayed above the counter.
The pub generally stocks a single, changing, cask beer, sourced either from a large regional brewer such as Marston’s, Greene King or Fuller’s, or from a local microbrewery, such as Langham’s of Petworth. A small selection of big-brand lagers and cider is dispensed from the keg taps and there is a good range of spirits and mixers on offer.
Reviewed 19th March 2017
Pub Owner/Operator: B J Dean
41 High Street
023 9282 0762
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30 ’til 23:00; Fri 11:30 ’til 00:00; Sat 11:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30.
This 17th century Grade II listed inn claims to be the oldest in Portsmouth despite this not being obvious from its comparatively nondescript frontage. Reputably haunted, the house has been known as the Dolphin since the early 1800s, the original pub was granted a licence in perpetuity by King Charles I. The pub now sports one large bar room divided into separate drinking areas, with a restaurant to the rear. Well patronised as one of Whitbread’s Hogshead Ale Houses during the 1990s, it is now owned by national pubco Enterpise Inns and managed by a subsidiary of that company.
August 2007 saw the pub reopen as Le Vieux Port Brasserie at The Dolphin, which saw the premises dominated by a French restaurant, though the licencees soon found themselves in financial difficulties when the expected custom did not materialise. A swift change of management in August 2008 saw the pub thankfully relaunched simply as the Dolphin, with its emphasis back on being a traditional pub.
The interior has a pleasant ambience and is traditionally and comfortably furnished, with the floor being bare-boarded. Seafaring memorabilia predominates and there are framed historic images of Old Portsmouth. An upright piano stands at the near end of the bar counter. There are two open fires, the largest of which is pressed into use during the colder months.
There is a sizeable dining area to the rear of the building and a patio garden can be found at the back of the pub. At the bar, up to six real ales are served – these being sourced from a mixture of small and large breweries. An afternoon visit in March 2017 found offerings from Fuller’s, Sharp’s, Red Cat, Caledonian, Irving and Upham breweries – though at least three of these ales were well past their best – and in one case, undrinkable, which calls into question the quality of the cellarmanship on site. For a pub which is supposedly Cask Marque accedited, this situation should never arise, as all the beers should be pulled through the lines and checked prior to sale each day.
In addition to the ales there is a good range of keg beers and lagers, cider, spirits and wines. Prices are in the higher bracket as far as Portsmouth in general is concerned. An all-day food menu is offered, with Pieminister pies being a popular choice.
Pub Owner: EI Group
Pub Operator: Bermondsey Pub Co
Reviewed 26th January 2015 (updated 2nd March 2017)
Colour photographs: (above) 10th May 2016.
(below, top row) 16th March 2015; 16th March 2015; 23rd November 2008; 23rd November 2008; 9th July 2007.
(below, bottom row) 27th January 2008; unknown date (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989; 1970s (by Ray Scarfe).
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 11:00 ’til 02:30; Thu-Sat 11:00 ’til 03:30; Sun 11:00 ’til 01:30
This cosmopolitan, modern café style bar stands next door to the Slug & Lettuce and is popular with all variety of customers, that tends to change depending on the time of day. The long, narrow interior has plenty of exposed brick and there is bench seating running along the length of the right-hand wall. On the opposite side of the room is a collection of small tables and chairs, some of which have vinyl coverings on which world maps are printed. Flat-panel televisions are mounted on the walls and show Sky News or sporting events. The bar counter is constructed from heavy timers reminiscent of railway sleepers. A display of old radios is sat above the suspended ceiling to the left. A large clock in the style of a pendant watch can be seen at the far end of the room. Piped music is played throughout the daytime – this being increased in volume later in the evenings. Sheltered pavement seating is provided beneath an awning. Food is served throughout the day.
A second, smaller bar can be found on the first floor and is open on selected evenings – used to host DJ sets and may be hired for private events.
The drinks range is made up predominently of premium priced lagers (including Pistonhead from Sweden’s Brutal Brewing), plus bottled beers, wines, spirits and cocktails.
Pub Owner: 1898 Holdings (Portsmouth) Ltd
Pub Operator: S J Whitmore
Reviewed 7th March 2015
Photographed 18th March 2008.
The Druid’s Arms
11-15 Binsteed Road
023 9266 6141
Actual Opening Hours:
Mon 16:00 ’til 18:00; Tue-Thu 16:00 ’til 23:00; Fri 14:00 ’til 00:00; Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30
This Victorian corner pub has retained the same name since opening in the late 19th century. Originally part of the local Young’s Brewery estate from 1897, it eventually ended up in the hands of Ind Coope (Allied) until being sold to Gale’s of Horndean in 1990. Following the takeover of Gale’s by London brewer Fuller Smith & Turner in 2005, the pub once again changed hands and received a facelift.
The Druids now sports an immaculately-kept, bare-boarded, L-shaped public bar, with a dart board, trophy display, gaming machines, jukebox and a large television on which Sky Sports is regularly shown. To the rear is a pleasantly-furnished lounge area, with the walls being decorated with a miscellany of framed prints. The high-backed, wooden settles are a notable feature of the pub and are possibly unique in Portsmouth.
The former lounge bar has since been converted into a separate pool room, complete with upholstered perches on the dividing wall. An interesting series of framed artworks depicting aerial views of English football stadia are displayed here. The room has its own small bar servery.
The pub offers one cask ale – this being well-kept Fuller’s London Pride. Czech-brewed Budweiser Budvar from the Czech Republic is also sold. A standard range of lagers, keg cider, wines and spirits is stocked.
Pub Owner/Operator: Fuller Smith & Turner
Reviewed 19th February 2015
Photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, top row, left to right) 19th July 2011; 14th May 2009; 14th May 2009; March 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 4th February 2007 (below, bottom row, left to right) 18th February 1990; interior and garden photographs 19th July 2011.
The Duke of Buckingham
119 High Street
023 9229 4491 (pub) 023 9282 7067 (hotel)
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 18:00
This pub stands on what was once the site of the Green Dragon in the 18th and 19th centuries, before later becoming the Cambridge Tavern in the 1850s. The pub was renamed the Duke of Buckingham in the 1920s (see black & white photograph) and was rebuilt in 1968. A brief spell in the 1980s saw the pub trading as Buckingham’s under ownership of then-national brewer Whitbread. In 1991 an extensive £500,000 refurbishment saw the ‘proper’ name thankfully restored.
The pub’s interior consists of a large L-shaped main bar room, with a small snug to the rear. The main room has varnished floorboards around the bar counter and two carpeted raised areas, bounded by balustrades, to the front and right side. A series of timber and exposed brick pillars run down the centre of the room. A number of non-load bearing beams cross the ceiling – one of which displays a large laminated Brickwood’s Brewery advertising sign.
Furnishings consist of traditional tables and chairs, pews and other miscellany. The snug contains comfortable armchairs and sofas. The raised area at the front of the pub is laid out for dining. A television is positioned above the bar counter, showing rolling news, and there is a gaming machine located opposite. Piped music is played throughout the pub. Collections of old books and ceramic sherry casks sit upon shelves dotted around the bar and the walls are decorated with large images of maritime Portsmouth. A coal effect open-grate fire sits in the original fireplace at the rear of the main bar room.
At the bar, four well-kept real ales are served – these being London Pride, HSB and a pair of seasonal beers from the Fuller’s range. A good selection of other (kegged) beers, ciders, wines and spirits is offered, including a range of single malt whiskies.
Food is served all day and live music is sometimes performed on Friday evenings.
The Duke of Buckingham also includes a 19-room hotel, accessed via a separate entrance at the front of the property (see website for details).
Pub Owner: Velden Developments Ltd
Pub Operator: S A Harvey
Reviewed 17th February 2015 (updated 22nd March 2017)
Colour photographs: (above) 3rd September 2010; (below, left to right) 13th July 2008; 3rd January 2005; September 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.
The Duke of Devonshire
119 Albert Road
023 9282 3682
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 11:00 ’til 12:30; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:45
Originally known as the Prince of Wales, this small street corner local has remained a constant among Albert Road’s constantly evolving pub scene over the years. A former Brickwood’s house, the house has a single long, narrow bar room, separated into two main areas. The pub is affectionately known as Mollie’s, after the pub’s now-retired, long-standing licensee Mollie Powell, who spent almost 53 years as a licensee in Portsmouth, including many at the Duke of Devpnshire.
The interior is carpeted throughout, with furnishings comprising traditional tables and chairs, banquette seating and upholstered bar stools. There are two dart boards (one at the front of the house and one to the rear), a jukebox and a gaming machine. A collection of darts trophies can be seen above the board at the front of the pub and there is a collection of advertising mirrors mounted on the walls. The chimney breast and original fireplace separates the main bar room from the rear seating area. The pub’s framed local CAMRA awards are displayed here.
Four cask ales are served – these being Fuller’s London Pride, Irving Invincible, Sharp’s Atlantic and Purity Mad Goose during a visit in January 2017. A standard selection of lagers, wines and spirits is sold, including a choice of single malt whiskies.
The pub has a patio garden to the rear. Note that no dogs are permitted in the pub.
Pub Owner: EI Group
Pub Operator: M Powell
Reviewed 4th February 2015 (updated 2nd February 2017)
Colour photographs: (above) 30th September 2006 (below) April 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.