HKC (Hong Kong Charlie’s)
75 Palmerston Road
023 9229 5295
Actual Opening Hours (subject to alteration): Mon-Thu 19:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 18:00 ’til 01:00; Sun closed
Hong Kong Charlie’s has existed in various locations in Portsmouth over the years – once located opposite the New Theatre Royal on Guildhall Walk, the bar later transferred to a basement premises opposite the Queens Hotel on Osborne Road. For the last decade it has stood at its present location and now specialises in a bewildering range of vodkas, dozens of which are flavoured with chocolate or pick ‘n’ mix-style confectionery. For the more traditional vodka connoisseur, there is a wide choice of imported varieties, including Balkan 176, weighing in at an eye-watering 176° proof, or 88% alcohol by volume! If vodka isn’t your thing, the bar also serves a range of draught lager, cider and Guinness, plus cocktails and a choice of champagnes.
The interior of the bar has modern feel with Oriental fittings and is split level toward the rear. The upper level includes a large television and is furnished with sofas and traditional tables and chairs. The lower level has a more intimate feel, is comfortably furnished and features a large Hong Kong cityscape mural on the rear wall.
Pub Owner/Operator: P Young
Reviewed 11th April 2015
Photographed 30th September 2006
The Harbour Lights
1 Southampton Road
023 9232 1122
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30
This large roadside Beefeater eaterie was once well known for its novel interior, consisting of a number of separate ‘dwellings’ seating half a dozen or so people each. Nowadays the pub is split into two entirely separate areas, with a large restaurant to the right and a smaller bar area on the left. The bar room is contemporarily furnished, with various images of Portsmouth landmarks displayed on the walls. A television is attached to the wall opposite the bar counter and there are gaming machines and an ATM close to the entrance. Piped music is played.
A single cask ale (Wychwood Hobgoblin) is stocked, along with a selection of big-brand keg beers and cider. Bottles of Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter, two BrewDog beers and Belgian Vedett beer are also offered. A limited range fo wines and spirits is sold. Meals are served all day.
A Premier Inn hotel is located adjacent to the pub (shared ownership). The pub is frequented by a mix of businessmen, travellers and a small number of local customers..
Pub Owner/Operator: Whitbread Plc
Reviewed 2nd December 2015
Photographs: (above) 2nd December 2015 (below) 11th March 2007; unknown date; 1968 (by Mike Jeavons).
Actual Opening Hours: Mon 13:00 ’til 22:00; Tue-Thu 13:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:00
The Harvest Home has existed on this site since at least the middle of the 19th century and is remarkable in that it has retained the same name throughout its life. Nowadays, the pub has a single bar room – a consequence of the ‘opening up’ fad which raged throughout the 1970s and 80s. Dominated by loyal customers from the surrounding terraced streets, the Harvest Home is a basic community local, with live music or karaoke offered each weekend. Darts is played and there is also a jukebox and gaming machines. BT Sports is shown on television. A meat raffle is held on Sunday afternoons and there is a monthly music quiz hosted on a Saturday.
Furnishings consist mostly of PVC sofas and armchairs. The main bar area is carpeted, with bare boards found to the rear, in the games area. The pub has an original fireplace located at one end of the room. A series of black and white prints of Hollywood film stars and American entertainers is displayed above the bar counter (and in the games area) and there is also a small number of brass plaques, appearing to commemorate former regulars who have departed to the great pub in the sky. A heated patio area can be found on the south side of the pub, along with a small car park.
The pub serves a fairly limited range of beers, wines and spirits. Cask ale, in the form of Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter, is only sometimes stocked. There is however a small choice of bottled beers such as Theakston’s Old Peculier and Newcastle Brown Ale.
Pub Owner/Operator: Admiral Taverns
Reviewed 24th January 2015 (updated 5th September 2017)
Photographs: (above) 14th August 2005; (below, left to right) 13th July 2008; 14th August 1988; unknown date.
The Harvester (Great Salterns)
023 9265 1051
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 09:00 ’til 23:00
This large pub and diner bordering Portsea Island’s eastern shore occupies one floor of the Grade II listed Great Salterns House – a late-Georgian mansion dating from 1820 and the former club house of the adjacent golf course. Primarily an eaterie, the pub also has a less formal area (to the left) for those wishing to visit just for a drink. Here can be found a half-boarded room, carpeted and decorated in a prodominantly light brown and cream colour scheme and furnished with a variety of upholstered bench seats and high tables and chairs. Further to the rear stands the bar counter and a second room containing a large open fire, which is put to good use during the winter months. Displays of framed still life artworks and old black and white photographs of Portsmouth are hung on the walls. Quiz and gambling machines are located throughout the bar area and low-level piped music is played.
The rooms to the right of the entrance lobby are given over to diners and these connect at the rear of the building to the bar area described above. Doors to the rear give access to a lawned area of picnic tables, with a raised deck providing panoramic views across Langstone Harbour. A large car park is located at the front of the house.
The pub serves a good range of keg lagers, bitter, cider, wines and spirits, though no cask ale is served. A choice of bottled beers from Suffolk’s Adnams brewery are stocked.
Pub Owner/Operator: Mitchells & Butlers
Reviewed 19th March 2015
Photographs: (above) 19th March 2015; (below) 14th August 2005.
The Harvester (Port Solent)
15 The Boardwalk
023 9220 1012
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 09:00 ’til 23:00
This well known watering hole on Port Solent’s Boardwalk is popular with a varied clientele and can always be guaranteed to be busy on a summer’s day. Stood facing the marina – home to dozens of impressive yachts and cruisers – the former Mermaid is laid out over two floors and commands fine views from the top deck. The interior has a proliferation of light wood fittings and tiled flooring, with marble topped tables and a granite bar counter. The traditional seating is complimented by armchairs and bench seats and the walls are decorated with a mixture of maritime prints and images of bygone Portsmouth. Piped music is played throughout the pub and the separate drinking area adjacent to the bar counter has a gaming machine for customers’ use. The outside terrace and patio areas are well-used in warm weather.
The bar offers a choice of draught lagers and cider, as well as Old Speckled Hen in keg form (real ale is no longer sold). Bottled Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter and Adnams Southwold Bitter is available from the chill cabinets and there is plenty of choice on the wine menu. Food is served all day.
Pub Owner/Operator: Mitchells & Butlers
Reviewed 27th April 2015
Photographs (above) 27th April 2015; (below, left to right) 16th January 2011; unknown date (by Ray Scarfe), 26th February 2007.
The Hole In The Wall
36 Great Southsea Street
023 9229 8085
Actual Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu 16:00 ’til 23:00; Fri 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sat 14:00* ’til 00:00; Sun 14:00 ’til 23:00
*opens 12:00 on Portsmouth FC home match days
This pleasant little pub is set among some notable and picturesque Georgian and Victorian buildings on Great Southsea Street. One of the smallest pubs in Portsmouth, the Hole In The Wall was opened in 1998 by soft drinks entrepreneur Geoff Hartridge, as part of the Winchester Ale Houses chain. Formerly a restaurant (see right-hand photo below) and subsequently a wine bar, the pub has gone from strength to strength in the intervening years, being crowned Portsmouth & South East Hampshire CAMRA Pub of the Year no less than seven times. A Good Beer Guide staple, the Hole offers a selection of six ever-changing cask ales, including a house beer, ‘Hole In Time’ produced exclusively for the pub by Portsmouth brewers Staggeringly Good.
A genuine free house since December 2011, expect to find products from the likes of Dark Star, Magic Rock, Thornbridge, Siren, Flower Pots and Fallen Acorn, plus many more. The majority of the real ales tend to be of the golden, rather hoppy variety. In addition to the cask beers, there’s also a choice of ‘craft keg’ ales and lagers from the UK and US, with Titanic Stout always on offer. A selection of real ciders is always available as well as a good range of single malt whiskies for those looking for something stronger. As far as bottled beer is concerned, a good choice of foreign brews are available to drink in the pub – or customers can ‘visit’ the Little Bottle Shop for a range of UK and foreign products to take home. All drinks are very competitively priced, with lower-gravity cask ales regularly available for around £3.20 per pint.
The pub is bare-boarded throughout, with an L-shaped, split level bar room, plus a tiny snug to the rear of the bar counter. Thousands of pump clips adorn the ceiling and the walls are decorated with a variety of framed prints and posters. A sympathetic refurbishment in October 2015 saw the installation of new, improved WC facilities. Good quality, freshly prepared food is available during the evenings (not Mondays), with local O’Hagan’s sausages being a speciality (booking is adviseable in order to secure a table). There is also a small sweet shop behind the bar, as an alternative to the more usual crisps and peanuts.
A general knowledge quiz is hosted on Thursday evenings and an annual beer festival is held each autumn. Occasional live folk music is performed.
Pub Owner: HITW (Southsea) Ltd
Pub Operator: J McKerracher
Reviewed 9th January 2015 (updated 7th June 2018)
Photographs: (top) 4th February 2007; (below, left to right) 18th March 2008; 19th May 2012; 1981.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 13:00 ’til 23:00
The Honest Politician was opened in 2004 in two former retail premises by the owner of the One-Eyed Dog at the opposite end of the street. Basically-furnished with a mixture of job-lot tables and chairs as well as reclaimed church pews, the pub has scrubbed floors throughout, with a very long bar counter running along the left-hand wall (much of which is unused). A DJ booth can be found in the right-hand seating area and there is a pool table at the front of house. The walls are decorated with a miscellany of framed prints and large movie posters. An old Bass sign hangs from a bracket attached to the entrance porch. There are a number of gaming machines available and a projector screen is put to use when major sporting events are shown.
A corridor runs along the disused section of the bar counter to another large area at the rear of the building which is used as a games room. Here you can find three further pool tables, table football and pinball machines, as well as additional seating. Occasional live music is performed.
Two cask ales are sold. Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter and Irving Frigate were available during a visit in February 2015. Additionally there is a wide range of keg beers, lagers and cider, plus a smaller selection of wines and spirits.
Pub Owner/Operator: Wine Vaults (Portsmouth) Ltd.
Reviewed 23rd February 2015
Photographs: (above) 9th November 2015 (below) 22nd July 2007; 19th September 2004.
62 Elm Grove
023 9217 6465
Actual Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu 12:00 ’til 00:00; Fri 12:00 ’til 02:00; Sat 10:00 ’til 02:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 00:00
Portsmouth’s first and only Belgian beer bar and brasserie opened to the public on Friday 17th April 2015 on the site of the former One Legged Jockey boutique. This single-roomed, bright and airy hostelry occupies a narrow corner plot and as a consequence quickly becomes busy with drinkers and diners – especially during the Summer months! As you enter the premises there is a small seating area to the right, consisting of upholstered benches, comfortable high-backed chairs and a sofa. Further seating runs along the length of the left-hand wall opposite the bar counter which extends down the right-hand side of the room. The walls are decorated with Belgian beer advertisements and other references to the country. The house is lit with a quirky variety of lighting and the premises is air-conditioned throughout. Low-level music is played (via internet-streamed Belgian radio). DJs play sets on weekend evenings.
Eight keg fonts dispense a variety of fruit beer, pilsner, wheat beer, blonde beer and other popular Belgian beers, three of which are specially brewed for Huis (pronounced ‘house‘) on the continent. The impressive range changes on a periodic basis and all can be viewed in the large ‘cage’ located at the end of the servery. Among these is a small selection of products from the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and England, such as La Trappe Dubbel and Meantime Chocolate Porter. Guest beers from the UK are also sometimes available on draft. Additionally, bottled cider is sold, along with a dozen wines, soft drinks, teas and coffees. There is also a good choice of spirits, including a single malt whisky (one of which is distilled in Belgium).
Click here to view the beer menu. All bottled beers are available to take home at a 20% discount on the drink-in prices.
A varied menu consisting of traditional Belgian fayre is served (see website or Facebook page for details of menu).
Pub Operator: The Travelling Flem Ltd.
Reviewed 17th April 2015 (updated 14th May 2017)
Photographed 17th April 2015.