Portsmouth Pubs – F

The FarmhouseCask Marque accreditedfacebook_logo_smallbed_logogarden
Burrfields Road
Great Salterns

023 9265 0510

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 11:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 11:00 ’til 23:00

farmhouse2005Constructed in the 1980s for Surrey Free Inns, the Farmhouse is now owned by Suffolk brewer Greene King and is now part of its Hungry Horse chain of eateries. The interior is divided into two distinct areas, with the left-hand side of the building designated a family area. Here can be found a large carpeted room, divided into various seating areas and containing a number of booths, with upholstered settles and traditioning tables and chairs. An ATM, gaming and quiz machines are all provided, as well as facilities to entertain children. Televisions are positioned around the pub and are used to screen Sky Sports events.

A second area to the right, accessed via a pair of double doors, is reserved for over eighteens only. Furnishings here are similar to those found elsewhere in the pub and include a number of high tables and chairs. Two pool tables are located to the far right and more gaming machines and televisions are provided.

The L-shaped, marble-topped, bar counter extends throughout both seating areas and offers a choice of three or four cask ales from the Greene King range. IPA, Old Speckled Hen and St Edmunds were available at the time of our review. A good range of keg products, wines and spirits is stocked.

The pub hosts karaoke on Friday evenings. There is a covered patio area at the front of the pub and plenty of car parking is available. The pub is connected at the rear to an Innlodge hotel.

Pub Owner/Operator: Greene King

Reviewed 19th March 2015

Photographsed 14th August 2005.

busThe Fat Foxfacebook_logo_smalllive music
11/13 Victoria Road South

023 9235 6255

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 ’til 00:30; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:30

Opened at the tail end of 2007 and owned by well-known Portsmouth bar owner Mike Hughes, the Fat Fox was established with the intention of making it a replacement for the Wine Vaults, which Hughes sold to Fuller’s some years ago. After a brief flirtation with the name The Globe in 2011, the house reverted to its original name after a spell of less than six months.

The pub is housed in two former retail premises, both of which were also licenced bars immediately prior to the Fat Fox opening its doors. The interior is typical of the bar’s sister pubs in Southsea, with bare floorboards, reclaimed fittings and a ‘distressed’ look. The walls are half-boarded and there is a seating area tucked away on a raised deck beyond the bar counter. The second, left-hand room contains a mixture of furnishings, with heavy, scrubbed tables, leather couches and upholstered settees. A pool table stands at the front of the room. The original fireplace contains a rustic-looking wood burner. Each room has a flat-panel television on which sport is shown and a projector screen is lowered for major events such as the Six Nations rugby union tournament. A stage, complete with a sizeable PA system, is pressed into use when live music is hosted.

The bar sells three cask ales (Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter, Otter Bright and Otter Amber, during a visit in February 2017) and there is a good selection of bottled ales from brewers such as Sierra Nevada, BrewDog, Brooklyn and Flying Dog. As far as stronger drinks go, there is a choice of bourbon whiskies, plus a standard range of keg beers, cider, wines and other spirits.

Above the Fat Fox can be found The Atrium cocktail bar, operated by the same company.

Food is served throughout the day, with pizzas, burgers and sausage and mash being the staple fayre.

Pub Owner/Operator: Wine Vaults (Portsmouth) Ltd.

Reviewed 5th February 2015 (updated 23rd February 2017)

Photographs: (above) 7th September 2017 (below, left to right) 26th May 2011; 18th March 2008; 22nd January 2008; 23rd February 2017 (x3).

The Fawcett InnCask Marque accreditedbusWithin 10 minutes walk of a railway stationfacebook_logo_smalltwitterlive musicgarden
176 Fawcett Road

023 9229 8656

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 14:00 ’til 23:00; Thu 14:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30

fawcettinn2005Designed by A H Bone and built in 1886 for the Brickwoods Brewery, the Fawcett Inn occupies a prominent position on a busy street corner. With its half-timbered ‘brewers tudor’ style and witch’s hat tower, it has an imposing presence.

The pub now sports one large, curved bar room, having been knocked through in the days of Whitbread. It is frequented mostly by local customers. Darts is played and there are gaming machines, a pool table and a number of televisions (as well as a large projector screen), on which many major sporting events are shown via BT Sport. A quiz is held on Tuesdays at 8:30pm.

The pub is boarded throughout and furnishings are mostly traditional. A raised deck in the corner of the pub serves as a stage when live music is hosted. The pub is decorated with framed prints of past Portsmouth, football memorabilia and music related images. A large patio courtyard is located at the rear of the pub, completed with barbecue for use in the summer months.

At the bar, a selection of up to four cask beers are sold – these often including Titanic Plum Porter, Sharp’s Atlantic and Doom Bar Bitter (range subject to change). The pub’s Sunday Ale Club offers customers any cask beer for £2.80 per pint, during the hours of 6pm and 9pm. A standard range of other keg beers, cider, wines and spirits is sold. The Fawcett serves authentic Thai and Laos cuisine, prepared by the pub’s Thai chef.

Pub Owner: Admiral Taverns

Reviewed 29th January 2015 (updated 30th August 2017)

Photographs: (top) 16th April 2008; (below, left to right) 14th August 2005; July 1990.

busThe Festingfacebook_logo_smallgardenwifi-logo-primary
1A Festing Road

 PO4 0NG
023 9282 5560

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 11:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 11:00 ’til 23:00

festing_1115This large Victorian corner house was constructed for the Brickwood’s Brewery and designed by one of the area’s most celebrated pub architects, A H Bone. It originally operated as an hotel and was once a stones-throw from the long-gone East Southsea railway station. An ornate Brickwood’s canopy can still be found above the main entrance (as shown in the bottom right-hand photograph). It has retained the same name throughout its long life, though now consists of a single large bar area, courtesy of former national brewer Whitbread, who was only too happy to demolish the interior walls of much of its pub estate. The house is now owned by Suffolk company Greene King.

The spacious, curved bar room is divided into three main areas, though still retains two separate bar counters, situated back-to-back. Furnishings are a mix of traditional tables and chairs, high tables, upholstered armchairs and banquette seating. The walls in the former lounge bar area are half-panelled and the original fireplace is a point of focus. The floor is part laminated, part carpeted and a raised deck in the former public bar area is now home to a pool table. There is a jukebox and gaming machines and wall-mounted television screens show Sky Sports. A patio garden can be found at the rear of the pub.

The bar serves a single cask ale – this being Greene King IPA – and there is a good choice of keg lagers, cider, wines and spirits, including single malt whisky. Food is served throughout the day (see website).

Pub Owner/Operator: Greene King

Reviewed 5th February 2015

Photographs: (above) 9th November 2915 (below, left to right) 14th August 2005; 11th May 1989; 20th March 2007.

The Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms buswifi-logo-primary
74 Albert Road

023 9282 7161

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 16:00 ’til 00:00; Fri-Sun 12:00 ’til 02:00

volunteer0315The Volunteer Arms was once somewhat of an institution as far as Portsmouth’s pubs were concerned. Known fully as the Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms since 1953, and previously as the Volunteers Arms (see black and white photograph), the pub had been in the ownership of Gales since Victorian times – passing to London-based Fuller’s following their acquisition of the Hampshire Brewery in 2007. The pub was the birthplace of the Portsmouth & South East Hampshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale in 1973 and appeared in their annual Good Beer Guide publication for many years. It remained one of the best examples of an unspoilt traditional tavern in Portsmouth – even to this day having very little altered from how it would have been in the 19th century.

Following the retirement of long-standing landlord John Nash in 2012, the pub underwent a sympathetic refurbishment by the brewery and still retains its entirely separate public and lounge bars. The former is accessed from the street corner and is bare boarded, simply furnished and now features a prominent Fuller Smith & Turner brewery mirror on the back wall. Darts is played and there is a well-used jukebox at hand.

The smaller lounge bar can be found at the rear of the pub. This is also uncarpeted, though comfortably furnished and includes some upholstered pews. The original fireplace has a decorative metal surround and carved wood mantle. The room is part boarded, part wallpapered and is has a collection of military memorabilia displayed on the walls, including a framed, scarlet, Volunteers’ army tunic.

The pub still retains its original, carved bar counter and bar-back and stocks two cask beers from the Fuller’s range – these being London Pride and HSB. A standard range of other keg beers, wines and spirits is sold, along with a choice of malt whiskies.

The pub changed hands twice in 2017 due to trading difficulties. It is hoped that the Fifth Hants continues to attract a viable level of custom in order to survive in the current economic climate.

Pub Owner/Operator: Fuller Smith & Turner

Reviewed 5th February 2015 (updated 30th August 2017)

Colour photographs: (above) 16th March 2015; (below, left to right) 19th September 2004; 13th July 2008; 11th May 1989; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe).

The First PostCask Marque accreditedbusWithin 10 minutes walk of a railway stationgardenwifi-logo-primary
42A High Street

023 9221 0331

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 08:00 ’til 23:00

firstpostThe First Post is typical of many J D Wetherspoon pubs that can be found on High Streets up and down the country. A former retail premises, the single large bar room extends the full length of the building, with the bar counter found on the right-hand wall. Furniture consists of a mix of traditional tables and chairs, plus high tables and bar stools, with a small number of booths found to the rear of the house. The walls are decorated with prints depicting local history and there is a large mural of an old post office counter on the wall facing the bar. A small number of gaming machines can be found in the centre of the bar and there are television screens showing subtitled rolling news.

Four guest ales (often from local breweries) complement the staples of Ruddles Best, Abbot and Directors Bitter. Two real ciders are also offered. A good range of bottled beers and ciders can be found in the chill cabinets and there is a good selection of wines and spirits to choose from.

A small patio at the rear of the pub caters for smokers.

Pub Owner/Operator: J D Wetherspoon

Reviewed 6th January 2015

Photographs: 15th July 2007.

The FleetCask Marque accreditedbusWithin 10 minutes walk of a railway stationtwittergarden
1 King Henry I Street

023 9283 0150

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 10:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 10:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 22:30

fleet1115Starting life as the Fleet & Firkin in 1997, this pub is housed in a former Royal Navy fire station and was converted at much expense by former national brewer Allied Domecq. Sadly, Allied lost interest in the Firkin brewpub concept (although the Fleet never actually had a brewery of its own) and sold the chain to rival Bass (Mitchells & Butlers). The real ales all disappeared and the pub lost most of its original customer base.

Now owned by Luton-based company Stonegate, the house now leans more towards dining and competes with Wetherspoon’s Isambard Kingdom Brunel next door. The large, roughly square, bar room has scrubbed floors, with two carpeted raised areas each side of the entrance door. Furnishings consist of a mixture of traditional tables and chairs, chuch pews, bench seats and leather banquettes, plus a small number of upturned hogsheads that have been converted to small tables. Two large chandeliers illuminate the centre of the pub. There are two sizeable flat-panel television screens overlooking the main seating areas, flanked by a number of ornately-framed mirrors.

At the bar, three cask ales are presently served – Sharp’s Doom Bar being the permanent offering, with two changing beers, sourced nationally. It is planned to always serve one local ale (November 2017). Additionally, three hand-pulled ciders are offered. CAMRA members receive a 10% discount on cask ales, on production of a valid membership card.

A wide choice of keg lagers and other similar products are stocked, plus a range of wines, spirits and cocktails. A small selection of bottled ales from the likes of Innis & Gunn, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Einstock and Brewdog is also sold – available at two for £6. Well-priced food is served all day (see website). The south-facing patio area is popular in summer.

Pub Owner/Operator: Stonegate Pub Company

Reviewed 26th February 2015 (updated 31st October 2017)

Photographs: (above) 9th November 2015 (below) 19th September 2004; unknown date (by Ray Scarfe).

The Florence Armsbusfacebook_logo_smalltwitterlive musicwifi-logo-primary
18/20 Florence Road

023 9200 7888

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 12:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30

Yet another pub that was built to a design by A E Cogswell, the Florence Arms was constructed in 1924 to replace an earlier pub of the same name. Until 2012, the pub retained traditional public and lounge bars, plus a separate restaurant and function room (the bottom right-hand photograph depicts the original lounge bar counter). This all changed following the departure of former licensees Greg Clark & Jane Goldring to run the Golden Lion in Southwick village.

Thereafter, the pub’s lease was taken over by the management of the Marmion Tavern in central Southsea and in early 2013 pubco Punch Taverns invested in a comprehensive refurbishment of the pub. The traditional public and lounge bars were knocked through, with just an open archway now separating these two areas. The original function room was done away with and a smaller area created behind double doors. Part of the old function room now serves as a dining area. Furnishings are now a mishmash of high-backed wooden armchairs, banquettes, bar stools and old leather easy chairs. The walls are half-boarded and the floor is part boarded, part carpeted.

A pool table stands in the former public bar and a television is mounted upon the wall, on which sporting events such as Six Nations rugby is shown. Piped music is played and there is a selection of tourist information literature available at the bar counter. Gaming machines are available. Live entertainment is hosted on Saturday nights.

Up to four cask beers are stocked, these tending to be from such breweries as Fuller’s, Sharp’s and Butcombe, as well as four real ciders (Addlestones Cloudy, Cheddar Valley, Weston’s Rosie’s Pig and Weston’s Old Rosie). Additionally, ‘quality’ keg beers are offered, such as Meantime Yakima Red and Charles Wells Dogfish DNA. Bottled beers from the likes of BrewDog and Meantime are also stocked, alongside an extensive wine list, plus a good range of other keg products and spirits, including a selection of single malt whiskies.

Prices for both food and drinks tend to be at the higher end compared to the majority of pubs in Southsea.

The pub’s operator offers accommodation at a small number of nearby boutique hotels (see website).

Pub Owner: EI Group
Pub Operator: The Mercer Collection

Reviewed 5th March 2015 (updated 11th July 2016)

Photographs: (above) 9th March 2017 (below, left to right) 19th September 2004; 16th April 2008; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe) 11th May 1989; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe);  16th April 2008.

busThe Floristfacebook_logo_smallgarden
324 Fratton Road
023 9281 4994

Opening Hours: tbc

florist_1115_1This striking 1924 construction by prolific Portsmouth architect A E Cogswell is one of the most attractive buildings on Portsea Island. Built for Brickwood’s Brewery to replace an earlier tavern, the structure is similar in design to the former Seagull pub on Broad Street (see the Lost Pubs section of this website), with its witch’s hat tower and Brewers’ Tudor half-timbering. The original mosaic tiled fascia was destroyed by Wiltshire brewer Wadworth when it purchased the pub in the 1990s from Whitbread (a fragment of which is now preserved in the pub garden – see photo below). The company was ordered by the city planners to replace this, like-for-like, although this was done using inferior materials compared to the original.

The Florist was once a CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular, but the house suffered a sharp downturn in trade during the first 15 years of the 21st century, with Wadworth calling time at the pub on 7th May 2012, at which time it was believed that the building would be sold off for housing. Thankfully a local businessman came forward to purchase the freehold and secure the future of pub, reopening it in late September of that year. However, no investment was made in the house and trade failed to improve.

The Florist’s saviour came in the form of Gosport’s Oakleaf Brewing Co, whose owners took over the lease in the autumn of 2015, giving the interior a much-needed refurbishment, reopening the pub on 17th November. Unfortunately, the untimely demise of Oakleaf the following year saw the pub handed back to the freehold owner and subsequently the extensive beer and cider range that was stocked disappeared soon after.

The Florist retains its two traditional rooms, with the L-shaped public bar at the front of house and a similar-sized lounge to the rear. The public bar has plenty of natural light and has half-boarded walls and laminate flooring. Furnishings are traditional, with chairs set around a mix of tables of varying size. A number of comfortable stools are grouped around the bar counter and to the left of the room. The carpeted lounge has been faithfully restored with a retro feel, with leather upholstered seats arranged around small tables to accommodate roughly a dozen people. The original fireplace is a focal point in the corner of the room and there is an upright piano available for visiting musicians. Old framed prints of Portsmouth and Southsea hang from the walls. At the rear of the pub is a sizeable beer garden where drinkers may relax in warmer weather.

The Florist reopened in mid March 2017, though sadly no longer stocks cask ale or any ‘craft’ beers, either from the UK or abroad. The limited range of drinks now offered is strictly limited to national brands.

Pool and darts is played and sporting events are televised via BT Sports. Piped music is played (often loudly!)

Pub Owner: C Hunt

Reviewed 17th November 2015 (updated 30th August 2017)

Colour photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, left to right) 18th February 1990; 14th May 2009; 10th May 2016. Matchbox label image kindly supplied by Rob Hall.

busThe Fort Cumberland Armsgarden
125 Eastney Road

023 9286 4994

Actual Opening Hours:
Mon 12:00 ’til 23:30; Tue 11:00 ’til 23:30; Wed-Thu 10:00 ’til 23:30; Fri-Sat 10:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 11:00 ’til 23:30
(Subject to confirmation)

fortcumberlandLocated at a busy traffic junction, the Fort Cumberland Arms was built for the Longs Brewery in the 1920s and later passed to Whitbread following a series of takeovers and mergers. The Longs name is still in evidence on the four front windows and these are now extremely rare examples.

Now consisting of a u-shaped bar room, the pub is carpeted, traditionally furnished and has a dart board, jukebox and television. A large number of cheques and certificates are displayed on the wall opposite the bar counter, reflecting the pub’s charity fundraising achievements. A small collection of beer mugs sit on high shelving.

There is also a separate family room/pool room, accessed through a door opposite the bar counter, which is completely isolated from the rest of the pub. A beer garden can be found at the rear.

After a short period of closure, the pub reopened in March 2017. Two cask ales are due to be offered soon , including a beer from a small independent brewery.

Pub Owner: C Hunt

Reviewed 22nd January 2015 (Updated 12th March 2017)

Colour photographs: (above) 11th May 1989; (below, left to right) 3rd January 2005; unknown date;  13th July 2008; 11th August 2011.

The Fountain Cask Marque accreditedbusfacebook_logo_smallgarden
163 London Road
North End

023 9269 7617

Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 12:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30

fountain_1115Built at the turn of the 20th century to replace an earlier pub of the same name, the Fountain is a typically grand Cogswell design and was originally part of the Pike Spicer Brewery’s estate. Now a Grade II listed building, the house was latterly owned by former brewing giant Whitbread and is now part of Enterprise Inns’ portfolio.

Consisting of a single, large U-shaped room, the pub was, until mid-2014, a pleasant lounge bar. Sadly, following the retirement of the former licensee, the pub relaunched as a ‘sports bar’ which has completely changed the character of the pub. Essentially, the interior is as was before, with its impressively-large chandeliers hung from the ceiling and the original, attractive bar-back still in situ. The house has a bare-boarded floor, which combined with the high ceiling, unfortunately causes the pub to become very noisy. Carpeting the bar would solve much of this problem.

As you would expect from a sports bar, the interior is festooned with televisions, including an enormous, multi-panelled and vastly expensive screen almost filling one wall of the rear bar area. A collection of football shirts is displayed on the bar-back and the walls are decorated with high-quality black and white images of professional sportsmen in action. A jukebox is available.

The pub has a covered courtyard where smokers can shelter during inclement weather and there is a separate function room beyond this.

A pair of cask ales from large breweries is stocked, plus a standard range of keg lagers, cider, wines and spirits.

The Fountain is an attractive and imposing pub, but in its present guise is sadly lost much of its former appeal.

Pub Owner: EI Group
Pub Operator: D W Leisure Ltd

Reviewed 31st January 2015

Photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, left to right) 15th July 2007; 2005; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988.

The Froddington ArmsWithin 10 minutes walk of a railway stationbusgardenlive musicwifi-logo-primary
55 Fratton Road
023 9282 3391

Actual Opening Hours: Mon 10:00 ’til 22:30; Tue-Thu 10:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 10:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 22:00

froddington_1115Named after the old word for Fratton, the Froddington was built on a site previously occupied by pubs including the Plough & Spade and the Swiss Gardens. The pub comprises one large, roughly L-shaped, carpeted bar room, with furnishings being a mix of banquette seating and traditional tables and chairs. Seating booths at the front of the pub are separated by two ornate stained glass panels. The pub has a dart board, pool table and gaming machines. Sky Sports is shown on television. To the rear of the pub is a patio garden.

Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter is the core cask ale, with a second usually being added when Portsmouth FC are playing home games. A good range of other keg beers, lager, wines and spirits is stocked. Food is served daily from 10am.

Pub Owner: Admiral Taverns

Reviewed 12th February 2015 (updated 23rd January 2017)

Colour photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, left to right) 4th February 2007; 18th March 2008; July 1990.

Next Page…