Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 16:00 ’til 23:00; Fri-Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
Constructed in 1892 for Brickwoods Brewery to a design by A H Bone, the Nell Gwynne features a distinctive ‘witches hat’ tower – one of a small number of similar constructions built across the city in the late Victorian period (of which around five still survive). The pub eventually became part of the countrywide Whitbread chain before being sold on to national pubco Enterprise Inns. Nowadays the pub is a genuine free house.
The pub underwent a partial refit in early 2013 following a change of licensee, with its cellar being fully refurbished by global brewer Molson Coors. The house briefly specialised in real cider, though this guise didn’t last long and the Nell was purchased by a small group of its regular drinkers in late 2014. Unfortunately, the group were unable to make a success of the business and the pub changed hands once again.
Sales of cask beer was sadly discontinued following the above change, with the pub now serving a standard range of keg lagers, cider, wines and spirits.
Darts and pool is played and Sky/BT Sports is used to show major events including football and Six Nations rugby union. Live music is hosted regularly and meat raffles are held at weekends. Gaming machines are available and the jukebox contains every top 40 single since 1952!
The single bar is bare-boarded, with a series of upholstered bench seats running around the perimeter of the room. Traditional tables and chairs can also be found, as well as a sofa at the end of the bar counter. A focal point is the real fire, providing plenty of warmth during the colder months.
Pub Owner: C Hunt
Reviewed 29th January 2015 (updated 19th March 2016)
Photographs: (above) 14th August 2005; (below, left to right) March 2001 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.
Southsea Leisure Park
023 9281 6413
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 16:00 ’til 23:00; Fri 16:00 ’til 00:30; Sat 12:00 ’til 00:30; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:00
This public bar and function room can be found within the static caravan site at Southsea Leisure Park, close to Eastney beach. The modern, pavilion-style building comprises a large, open-plan, roughly L-shaped room, divided into two main areas. Furnishings are simple and the floor is part boarded, part carpeted. Two supporting roof columns are clad with ships’ rope. Sky and BT Sports are both shown on television and there are pool tables available – one of which can be found outside on the large east-facing patio when weather permits. A conservatory annexe is home to a small amusement arcade and piped music is played.
The bar serves draught lager and Guinness, with Wychwood Hobgoblin bitter sold in bottles. A standard range of wines and spirits is also stocked. Food is served.
Pub Operator: P J Estates
Reviewed 30th April 2015
Photographed 30th April 2015.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 14:00 ’til 23:30; Fri-Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
This large Victorian corner pub is very much a traditional local, tucked away in the densely populated backstreets of Fratton. Always having retained the same name, the house was originally owned by the Pike Brewery (later Pike Spicer) and by the 1970s was part of the vast Whitbread empire. Eagle-eyed drinkers will notice the pub’s two original Pike Spicer frosted glass windows.
The Newcome is known for being home to some of the most fervent Portsmouth FC fans, and the former chairman could sometimes be found here enjoying a pre-match drink with the fans. The interior has consisted of one large, roughly L-shaped, bar for many years now. There is a pool table and dart board to the left as you enter the pub. A large collection of trophies is displayed here. The pub is carpeted throughout and comfortably furnished with a mix of traditional tables and chairs, banquettes and upholstered bar stools. Televisions are positioned around the bar room and there is a jukebox and gaming machines available. A second dart board is located at the opposite end of the pub, beyond the bar counter, where the original open fire is sometimes brought to life during the colder months. Decor includes of a curious mixture of framed floral prints, horse brasses, bed warmers and, as one would expect, plenty of Portsmouth FC memorabilia. A patio beer garden can be found to the rear.
Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter is the sole cask beer, with a good selection of other keg beers, cider, wines and spirits on offer.
Pub Operator: Southern Counties Taverns
Reviewed 12th February 2015
Photographs: (above) 9th July 2007; (below, left to right) 14th May 2009; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); July 1990.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 11:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
Dating from 1896, this late-Victorian former hotel stands in a residential area to the north of Southsea’s busy Albert Road and was once situated a short distance from the long-closed East Southsea railway station. Once part of the Pike Spicer brewery’s estate, it became yet another Whitbread house in the 1970s until being purchased by national pubco Enterprise Inns. During a 1990 refurbishment, the internal walls were thankfully rebuilt and we now have a very pleasant, comfortable two bar pub, with a large outside patio area.
A large public bar is located to the rear (entrance on Northcote Road) and features a sizeable darts area on a raised deck, plus a pool table by the entrance to the garden. Part carpeted and part boarded, there are upholstered settles and traditional tables and chairs comprising the furnishings. The walls are decorated with various maritime paraphernalia, a collection of large ceramic plates and a display of brewers’ taps, spiles and shives.
A small lobby (featuring a collection of signed photographs of popular entertainers) connects to the smaller, comfortable lounge bar. A selection of daily newspapers is provided.
Four cask ales are sold, sourced from large independent brewers and from Portsmouth’s Irving & Co. as well as a good range of other keg beers, cider, wines and spirits. Traditional cider has also been introduced to the pub.
A pub quiz is hosted at 8pm on Sundays.
Pub Operator: EI Group
Reviewed 29th January 2015
Photographs: (above) 14th August 2005; (below, left to right) 16th April 2008; April 1989 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.