The Manor House
43 Court Lane
023 9238 1395
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 ’til 23:00
This large 1930s pub in a residential district between Cosham and Drayton is a former Brickwood’s/Whitbread house, now under ownership of Suffolk company Greene King. Its original two bar rooms have since been knocked through into one large room, though divided into two distinct areas, with the long bar counter facing the entrance. The walls are decorated with boldly-patterned, multicolour wallpaper and the flooring is a mixture of carpeting, bare boards and tiles. Furnishings are a mix of traditional tables and chairs, booths and high tables and stools.
The right-hand area features a pool table and dartboard, plus television screens showing Sky Sports. A selection of quiz and gaming machines are also to hand and a jukebox is fitted to the far right-hand wall. The left side of the house is used more by families and diners – with the comprehensive food menu being served from noon ’til 9pm daily. A quiz is hosted on Monday evenings.
At the bar, four cask ales from the Greene King stable are sold – these being IPA, Abbot Ale and two of the brewery’s seasonal offerings. A wide selection of big-brand keg beers and ciders is stocked, together with a good range of wines, spirits and cocktails. Glenfiddich single malt whisky is also available.
The Manor House has parking for around twenty cars and a sizeable beer garden can be found on the east side of the pub.
Pub Operator: Greene King
Reviewed 2nd December 2015 (updated 28th October 2016)
Photographs (above) 9th November 2015 (below) 11th March 2007; October 2000 (by Ray Scarfe); unknown date.
The Marina Bar & Café
Fort Cumberland Road
023 9282 9999
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 08:00 ’til 23:00
This small, modern bar and café stands at the heart of Southsea Marina, beneath the Bombay Bay Indian restaurant. Affording panoramic views across Lock Lake, towards the Thatched House pub and distant Portsdown Hill, the interior consists of a smartly decorated single room, with a bar counter at its centre. The decor is predominantly light blue and white, with a laminate floor and furnishings consisting of traditional tables and chairs, bar stools and one or two comfortable sofas. To the rear is a pool table, with a large wall-mounted television for screening sports events. A composite photograph of the view from the bar covers the length of the back wall and a small collection of sporting trophies are displayed in a glass fronted case.
On the bar, a selection of keg lager, beer and cider is sold, alongside one gravity-dispensed cask ale – this generally being locally-brewed Irving Invincible or a beer from Fuller’s. A choice of wines and a large selection of spirits is also stocked – including Aberlour single malt whisky.
Pub Owner/Operator: Marina Bar Ltd.
Reviewed 24th March 2015
Photographed 30th Arpil 2015.
The Marmion Tavern
20 Marmion Road
023 9229 1822
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 ’til 23:00; Fri 11:00 ’til 23:45; Sat 09:00 ’til 23:45; Sun 09:00 ’til 22:30
Known as the Lord Napier until 1976, the Marmion Tavern took its name from another pub that stood close by on the opposite side of Marmion Road. Once part of the Brickwood’s Brewery estate, the pub was swallowed up by Whitbread in the 1970s and is now part of the vast Punch Taverns portfolio. The pub has undergone a number of transformations over the past twenty years and in 2014 received it’s latest makeover, which has seen the interior much altered.
The main bar area has a bright and airy interior, with light grey wood-panelled walls and a bare-boarded floor. Furnishings consist of a mixture of upholstered armchairs and sofa, plus traditional seating at small tables. Additionally, there are a number of stools at the front of the pub that appear to have been made out of recycled materials. Plenty of old black and white prints of bygone Southsea adorn the walls and the pub is illuminated by clusters of quirky teardrop-shaped lights suspended from above. A large flat-panel television is mounted on the wall opposite the bar counter and low-level piped music is played. A selection of daily newspapers are available to peruse whilst enjoying a drink.
The separate dining area to the rear has an exposed brick wall and there is a collection of ornately-framed mirrors to the left. An old Marmion Road street sign is prominently displayed. See Facebook page for food serving times.
The Marmion stocks three cask beers – Sharp’s Atlantic, Fuller’s London Pride and Dartmoor Jail Ale. A standard range of keg lagers is offered, plus a good selection of wines and spirits.
Reviewed 9th March 2015
Pub Operator: Punch Taverns
Photographs: (above) 9th March 2017 (below, left to right) 13th July 2008; 15th July 2007; 14th August 2005; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 28th April 1991.
1/3 Church Path North
023 9282 0909
Licenced Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 ’til 01:30
Originally named the Olive Branch and owned by the King Brewery, the present pub was built for Brickwoods in 1923 to a traditional style by A E Cogswell. The Mars has been an unlikely survivor, tucked away in a deprived neighbourhood and surrounded by post-war council flats – a far cry from how the district once looked. The single bar has a homely feel, with much dark wood in evidence. An exposed brick chimney breast houses a real fire in winter and furnishings consist of traditional tables and chairs, arranged around the perimeter of the bar room. A jukebox, gaming machines and television are on hand. The walls are decorated with a large collection of mirrors advertising various spirits and Coca-Cola. An original picture rail is a rare survivor of the pub’s interior.
Drinks on offer come in the form of standard keg beers, wines and spirits. No cask ale is sold. Bottled ales consist of Manns and Newcastle Brown. No food is sold. This is a good example of a traditional Portsmouth community local.
Pub Owner: EI Group
Reviewed 17th January 2015
Photographs: (above) 13th July 2008; (below, left to right) 14th August 2005; 28th April 1991.
Mary Rose & Dragon
19 St George’s Road
023 9275 1751
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 ’til 22:45; Sun 12:00 ’til 21:00
Known as the Gloucester Hotel for many years (as seen in the black & white photograph), this large inn was built in 1900 to a design by Portsmouth’s top pub architect Arthur Cogswell. In 1983 it was renamed the Mary Rose in celebration of the raising of Henry VIII’s warship from the Solent the previous year. Once owned by the local Pike Spicer brewery, it later became a Brickwood’s house before ending up with national brewer Whitbread. In the spring of 2007 the house was again renamed – this time becoming the Dragon Bar & Restaurant – an Enterprise Inns pub eaterie with the emphasis on Oriental food. By June 2010 another rebranding saw the pub regain its former name, albeit suffixed with the word Dragon.
Today, the pub appears to have somewhat of an identity crisis. On entering the pub, a public bar area can be found to the left. This is somewhat shabby and consists of a mishmash of furnishings including high-backed upholstered chairs, vinyl sofas and bar stools. A pool table stands in the centre of the room and a large projector screen is used to show football and rugby matches via BT Sport. A dart board is located in the corner, at the end of the bar. A more inviting area can be found to the front of the room, where a raised deck is home to comfortable leather sofas arranged around an original, open fireplace. Maritime prints hang on the walls. The black painted bar counter is a nice feature, but sadly requires restoration to bring it back to its former glory.
No real ale is sold. Instead, there is a choice of keg products and Fuller’s London Pride is sold in bottles. An adequate selection of wines and spirits is stocked.
A right turn on entering the pub brings you into the restaurant, where the attention to detail is far better. The room is pleasantly furnished and well decorated, with an Oriental theme prevailing. It is quite apparent where in the business the vast percentage of investment has been made.
The pub has patio seating outside and the car park has space for around sixteen vehicles.
Pub Owner: EI Group
Reviewed 12th March 2015
Colour photographs: (above) 15th July 2007; (below, left to right) 30th September 2006; June 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.
Meat & Barrel
110-114 Palmerston Road
023 9217 6291
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30 ’til late
Opened toward the tail end of 2014, Meat and Barrel is owned by the same team that runs the nearby Belle Isle on Osborne Road and Little Johnny Russell’s on Albert Road. Housed in the former Bamboo House Chinese restaurant, the bright and airy café-style interior consists of a single, open-plan, bar room with the ceiling supported by two slender steel pillars and exposed RSJs. The premises has parquet block flooring throughout and is furnished with basic tables and chairs, a small number of leather armchairs and sofas, plus high tables and bar stools. The bar counter runs along the back wall and features a large tiled version of the company’s bovine logo. A large neon sign on the north wall proclaims Southsea Burger Club.
An impressive range of beers awaits the customer – with five cask ales sourced from quality microbreweries across the UK, plus a real cider. A line of 16 keg taps dispense interesting craft products from the UK and abroad, as well as more familiar lagers from global producers. The chiller cabinets behind the bar contain a wide variety of British and foreign bottled beers, including Arbor Ale, Chimay Rouge, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, BrewDog Punk IPA, Staggeringly Good VelociRapture, Brooklyn Lager and a gueuze. For those preferring something stronger, the bar also stocks up to ten bourbon whiskies, plus a selection of wines and other spirits. Customers should note that the pub charges a premium for half pints of beer.
Food is served all day, with burgers being a popular choice on the menu. Meat and Barrel is a welcome addition to the Portsmouth beer scene and should do very well in this part of the city.
Pub Owner/Operator: Kehellers Gourmet Cuisine Ltd
Reviewed 2nd February 2015
Photographed 2nd February 2015.
The Meon Valley
64 Meon Road
023 9282 7259
Actual Opening Hours:
Mon Tue 11:00 ’til 21:00; Wed 11:00 ’til 22:00; Thu-Sat 11:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 22:00
This attractive corner house was built in 1930 for Portsmouth United Breweries and, until 2009, sported an ornate, original United Breweries tiled fascia (as seen in the photographs here). Sadly, present owner Admiral Taverns saw fit to paint over this, in an act that the webmaster feels is nothing short of vandalism and shows blatant disrespect for Portsmouth’s pub heritage.
The pub enjoys a mainly local clientele and is always busy when Portsmouth FC are playing their home matches at nearby Fratton Park. The single U-shaped bar room is bare-boarded and furnished with a mixture of traditional tables and chairs and upholstered bench seating. Two original fireplaces can be found on either side of the room. A series of ornate stained-glass panels depicting scenes of the Meon valley are set into the woodwork of the pot-shelf above the bar counter. There are also four very rare United Ales windows on the southern and eastern elevations of the pub.
The Meon Valley is a very sport-orientated pub, with darts, pool and golf all played. There are gaming machines available and a number of televisions are prominently located around the bar to show sports events. There is an impressively large collection of sporting trophies displayed adjacent to the dart board. The pub has a jukebox and there is a small stage for live performances. A meat raffle is held at weekends.
A single real ale can be found at the bar – this being Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter. A standard selection of other keg beers, cider, wines and spirits is stocked.
The Meon Valley is now run by an experienced licensee, with many years service of running large managed houses in the south of England. A wish to return to a more ‘grass roots’ style of pub management has brought him back to his home town of Portsmouth with an enthusiasm to engage with his customers.
Pub Owner/Operator: Admiral Taverns
Reviewed 22nd January 2015
Photographs: (above) 15th July 2007; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); unknown date (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.
Licenced Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 10:00 ’til 00:30; Fri Sat 10:00 ’til 02:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
Designed by A E Cogswell and built in 1900 for the Pike Spicer brewery on what was once Mermaid Field (Mermaid being a corruption of the words mere mead – a water meadow), this pub features an ornate cast-iron canopy over the entrance doors. Inside, the layout of the pub is remarkably unchanged, with a large public bar at the front, and a smaller, more intimate, lounge bar to the rear. Both have recently been given a sympathetic refurbishment, which has thankfully done nothing to compromise the integrity of the pub’s interior.
The public bar is well appointed, with darts, pool, a jukebox and television on offer. A meat raffle is held each weekend. A number of sporting trophies are displayed around the pub. In the lounge bar stands a bar billiands table as well as a second dart board. Outside is a sizeable, secluded beer garden.
Two Sharp’s cask ales are sold – these being Doom Bar and Sea Fury as of September 2017. A standard range of keg lagers, cider, wines and spirits is served – and malt whisky is a welcome inclusion.
Pub Owner: Punch Taverns
Reviewed 19th February 2015 (updated 5th September 2017)
Photographs: (above) 5th September 2017; (below, left to right) 14th August 2005; 13th July 2008; 14th August 1988; 1984 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Milton Arms
174 Milton Road
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 12:00 ’til 00:30; Fri Sat 12:00 ’til 01:30; Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
(hours subject to change)
This historic old Brickwoods pub was almost demolished in the 1920s. The pub consists of an L-shaped public bar that runs the length of the frontage and there is an old barn at the rear of the property which doubles as a lounge and function room. The front bar is bare-boarded and contains an ornately carved bar counter, bar-back and pot-shelf – the latter being a rare example in Portsmouth these days. Furniture is traditional and there is an upright piano to the right as you enter. A red-baized pool table stands to the far left of the room and there is a dart board and jukebox.
The Barn hosts regular live music, including open mic night on Wednesdays. Fridays and Saturdays are given over to club nights. Monday is quiz night (8pm) and there is a meat raffle on Sundays. Private functions can be catered for.
Following a period of closure in early 2017, the pub reopened on 5th May. Details of the drinks range to follow in due course.
Pub Owner: EI Group
Updated Review Pending
Photographs: (above) 15th July 2007; June 1999 ( by Ray Scarfe); 28th April 1991.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 12:00 ’til 00:00; Thu-Sat 12:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
This Victorian pub has seen much change throughout its lifetime. Originally a Longs Brewery pub known as the Cremorne Gardens (and variations of), this name is still evident behind the existing fascia. It became the Mr Pickwick during the 1970s, then spent two years as Duke’s between 1986 and 1988 – a pub frequented by a young clientele. The Mr Pickwick name returned after a refurbishment in 1989 and has remained ever since. The present exterior of the pub conceals some ornate tiling that once decorated the front elevation. Until recently some of this could also be seen inside the main entrance, but now appears to have either been removed or covered from view.
Inside can be found one very large bar room, roughly L-shaped, with a ground floor extension to the south elevation. Much of the original plasterwork and ceiling roses can still be seen, but sadly all the wall decoration has been painted over rather unsympathetically, in a two-tone light blue and magnolia scheme. Two ornately-carved original fireplaces can be found at either end of the house, plus a third, brick-built example, in the extension.
The pub is very sports orientated and customers have a choice of darts, pool and table football. The pub is also home to its own golf society. A collection of sporting trophies is displayed on a high shelf in the left-hand bar area. Gaming machines and a jukebox is available and karaoke nights are held. Furnishings consist of traditional tables and chairs, as well as a number of settees. There is lots of room for standing customers – necessary when Portsmouth FC are playing home matches. The pub is carpeted throughout, with the exception of the area around the pool table. A small number of picnic benches can be found outside, in the pub’s own car park.
On the bar, real ale is only stocked at certain times – generally when home football matches are being played – the sole cask beer being the ubiquitous Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter. Newcastle Brown Ale is sold in bottles. Other drinks consist of a standard range of lagers, cider, wines and spirits.
Pub Operator: Harnser Inns Ltd
Reviewed 22nd January 2015
Colour photographs: (above) 3rd January 2005; (below) April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 1970s.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:00
Built in 1886 to a design by renowned local pub architect A H Bone, the Mother Shipton stands in a densely-populated residential district. The original carved figurine above the corner entrance was replaced in 1999 (see photos). Some years ago the pub gained a dubious reputation as a less-than-salubrious establishment – even appearing on Sky Television’s series Britain’s Roughest Pubs – this notoriety is, however, no longer warranted and the Mother Shipton has continued to trade whilst other nearby pubs have closed their doors for good.
The pub now attracts a good local trade and offers Sky Sports on television, a pool table and gaming machines. Local DJs host discos. The furnishings consist of traditional tables and chairs, bar stools and upholstered bench seats. At the bar, two cask beers are sold, often including ales from local microbreweries such as Irving & Co. A traditional cider in the form of Weston’s Rosie’s Pig is dispensed from a third handpump. A range of other keg beers, lagers, cider, wine and spirits is stocked, including single malt whisky. There is an outside smoking area to the rear of the pub.
In 2014 the pub was sold by owner Greene King and is now owned by a local businessman. It was initially feared that the pub would be converted to private residences, however the new owner has vowed to keep the pub open all the time trade is good.
CAMRA members receive a discount on cask ales on production of their membership card.
Pub Owner/Operator: Individual
Reviewed 31st January 2015 (updated 6th February 2017)
Photographs: (above) 30th September 2006; (below, left to right) unknown date (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988; unknown date.