Shack Bar & Kitchen
92 Albert Road
023 9307 2992
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed closed; Thu 12:00 ’til 00:00; Fri-Sat 12:00 ’til 01:30; Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
Opened in November 2015 in the premises formerly occupied by Mojo’s, this quirky maritime-themed bar and eaterie offers something a little different from the many other licensed premises to be found in and around the Albert Road area. Aimed at a predominantly younger clientele at night, the bar will also appeal to the older customer during the daytime.
The single, narrow bar room has olive green walls with a series of striking murals, painted by a local artist, dominating the left-hand wall. Furnishings at the front of house consist of a mixture of upholstered chairs and a sofa, as well as more traditional seating. A large blackboard on the right-hand wall lists the various food options, with flour dough wraps being the house speciality. Beyond here, on the right is the bar counter, opposite which are plenty of bar stools grouped around a series of hinged tables, suspended by chains from the ceiling, which may be collapsed down at busy times to provide a larger standing area, notably when live music is performed or when DJs provide entertainment from the booth at the rear of the bar, which doubles as the food servery by day.
Turning our attention to the bar counter, a range of keg lagers, cider and stout is stocked, along with a small number of bottled products, including BrewDog Punk IPA, Newcastle Brown Ale and Brookyn Lager. No cask ale is served. A small range of spirits (notably rums) is available, plus a choice of cocktails.
Customers should note that Shack Bar does not presently open Mondays to Wednesdays.
Pub Operator: Shack Trading Ltd.
Reviewed 17th March 2016
Photographs: (above) 9th March 2017 (below) 17th March 2016.
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 14:30 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 13:30 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30
Built for the Gibbs Brewery in the 1890s, the Shearer Arms spent many years in the hands of Brickwood’s before being acquired by Whitbread in 1971. The pub was briefly the property of now-defunct pubco Inn Business in the mid 2000s before ending up as part of pub giant Punch Taverns’ estate. A costly refurbishment in 2006 has resulted in a pleasant single-bar pub which has become popular with the local community.
The bar includes a pool table and dart board, plus jukebox, television and gaming machines. A large collection of sports trophies is on display. Furnishings consist of traditional tables and chairs, upholstered pews and bar stools. The walls are half-boarded and are decorated with an assortment of football memorabilia. A large flag of St George is hung on the end wall. The pub’s frontage includes some original leadlight, stained-glass top windows. To the rear is a secluded patio garden, with smoking shelter and former inn sign.
The pub hosts live music at weekends and a meat raffle is held at 7:30pm on Fridays.
Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter is the sole cask ale. A standard range of lagers, cider, wines and spirits is stocked.
Pub Operator: Punch Taverns
Reviewed 19th February 2015
Photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, left to right) 4th February 2007; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988.
57 Osborne Road
023 9229 3756
Actual Opening Hours:
Mon 15:00 ’til 22:30; Tue-Thu 09:30 ’til 22:30; Fri Sat 09:30 ’til 23:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 16:00
Opened in December 2009 by former mariner Iain Kirby, Shenanigans is a small, welcoming Irish-themed bar in the heart of Southsea’s main shopping and restaurant district. The single, narrow bar has wood panelled walls and a pitched timber ceiling from which many club rugby jerseys are hung and a collection of foreign banknotes is displayed. Furnishings are traditional and there is an upturned hogshead near the entrance, on which customers can rest their glasses. Newspapers are on offer and traditional games such as dominoes and bridge can be played. Live premiership rugby and Six Nations fixtures are shown on television.
As one would expect, the drinks range is typical of that to be found in an Irish bar, with draught Guinness, Caffrey’s and the excellent Dublin Porter all served, together with a range of lagers, wines and spirits, including Irish whiskeys, hot whiskeys and Irish coffees. Traditional food (such as Irish stew) is served throughout the day, including breakfasts from 9:30am (see website). Pavement seating is available.
Pub Operator: I Kirby (Free House)
Reviewed 7th March 2015
Photographed 28th December 2015
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 16:00 ’til 23:00; Thu 16:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:30
This prominent corner house on a busy street still prominently displays the name of its original owners, Portsmouth United Breweries, and was constructed in an unusual terracota design – unique among pubs in Portsmouth. Dating from 1912 and designed by A E Cogswell, the pub caters for an almost exclusively local trade, with football fans visiting on match days.
The pub has one large bar room, divided into distinctive areas. The front area is parquet floored, where a pool table can be found – which is free to use at all times. High tables and stools comprising the seating. A large papier-mâché Portsmouth crest is suspended from the ceiling above the entrance porch. An ornate, green-tiled fireplace is a focus point and an original survivor from the pub’s days as a United Breweries house. Across from the bar counter can be found a number of comfortable sofas. The walls of the pub are decorated with Portsmouth Football Club memorabilia – this being the closest pub to the team’s Fratton Park ground. A dart board can be found towards the rear of the pub, where there is also access to an outside patio area.
The pub stocks a large range of keg lagers, cider, wines and spirits, including a fine choice of single malt whiskies. There is a choice of up to four cask ales, with the majority sourced from the Marstons range, plus Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter.
Pub Owner: Punch Taverns
Pub Operator: S Hudson
Reviewed 22nd January 2015
Photographs: (above) 14th August 2005; (below, left to right) 13th July 2008; 28th April 1991; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Ship & Castle
1-2 The Hard
023 9283 2009
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30
A pub by the name of the Ship & Castle has existed on this site for hundreds of years. The present structure was built to a design by Cogswell in 1902 and was once a Gales house, but by the ’70s had fallen into disuse. A major refit in 1980, which saw the interior completely gutted, led to the reopening of the pub by Whitbread. Following a further refit in 1992 it is now a genuine free house, majoring on food sales, including lunchtime carveries (see website for menu and serving times). The pub is very popular during the tourist season, whereas the pub becomes frequented mainly by locals during the off-season.
The very long, split level, single bar room has a bar counter towards the front of the pub, with a food servery towards the rear. A standard range of beers, wines and spirits is sold, including three cask ales. Unfortuntely the quality of the ale is often poor, possibly due to too many ales being available at quiet times. A pool table can be found opposite the bar. Televisions show rolling news. Gaming machines and an ATM are also offered.
Pub Operator: M D A Becker (Free House)
Reviewed 15th January 2015
Photographs: (above) 30th September 2006; (below, left to right) 11th May 1989; March 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Ship & Castle
90 Rudmore Road
023 9267 0998
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00 ’til 00:00; Sat 11:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 11:00 ’til 22:30
This old Victorian pub now stands isolated and hidden away, outside the freight entrance to the Portsmouth’s International Port. Once on the water’s edge (see bottom left-hand photograph), major land reclamation in the last century means that it is now surrounded by industry. Originally owned by Murrell’s, the pub passed to Friary Meux of Guildford and in 1990 was sold to Gales of Horndean. Now a Fuller’s house, the pub is used by locals, ferry port workers and travellers alike. It is the only pub in Portsmouth to hold a 24 hour liquor licence.
Inside is a single bar, split into two distinct areas and pleasantly furnished throughout. The walls are adorned with maritime prints and a collection of ships’ badges. A ship’s wheel hangs pride of place on the rear wall. A pair of lifebelts are displayed on the front wall, to the right as you enter. There is a dart board and television as well as gaming machines. The pub has its own car park and seating is provided outside for use in the warmer weather. The Ship & Castle serves two cask beers – these being Fuller’s London Pride and HSB. A comprehensive menu of very good value meals is served 12:00-14:30 & 17:00-2100, seven days per week (plus a daily specials board), with all dishes costing less than £6. All in all, a very nice little pub. One to seek out.
Pub Operator: Fuller Smith & Turner
Reviewed 17th January 2015
Colour photographs: (above) 19th July 2011; (below, left to right) 19th July 2011; 30th September 2006; March 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 18th February 1990.
The Ship Anson
10 The Hard
023 9282 4152
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 ’til 00:00
Rebuilt in 1922 to a Cogswell design to replace the earlier Ship Anson, this tall, narrow brewers tudor style pub is the most attractive property on The Hard. The pub was amalgamated with the King & Queen (as seen in the bottom left-hand photograph) next door in 1967 and now consists of one large single-bar room, divided into separate areas. Both pubs were part of the Brickwoods estate for many years, and in 1971 the Ship Anson became one of hundreds aquired by Whitbread as a result of their buy-out of Brickwoods.
It is now one of a growing estate of pubs in Portsmouth owned by Suffolk brewer Greene King. The pub is frequented mainly by locals off-season and has a large influx of tourists in the summer months, when pavement tables and chairs are provided for al fresco drinking – with fine views of HMS Warrior, moored across the road. There is also a small courtyard to the left side of the pub. The dark wood interior provides pleasant and comfortable surroundings in which to enjoy a drink, or maybe a meal from the pub’s extensive, well-priced menu. Furnishings are a mix of traditional tables and chairs, plus synthetic leather banquettes running around the perimeter of the main seating area. A large fireplace with walnut surround houses a coal-effect fire on the far left-hand wall.
Up to six regularly-changing cask ales are served – most of which are sourced from Greene King owned breweries, but which often include a guest from other independent breweries. There is a good selection of keg beers and lagers to choose from, including Goose Island Pale Ale from the United States. A jukebox and gaming/quiz machines are available.
Pub Operator: Greene King
Reviewed 15th January 2015 (updated 28th February 2017)
Colour photographs: (above) 5th June 2008; (below, left to right) 13th July 2008; 28th March 2005; June 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.
The Sir Alec Rose
32/33 The Boardwalk
023 9231 4800
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 08:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 08:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 08:00 ’til 00:00
This popular pub on Port Solent’s fashionable Boardwalk is typical of a modern Lloyd’s No.1 J D Wetherspoon house. On entering the pub at boardwalk level, one finds a small, carpeted bar room with its own servery and traditional seating. A large television is situated behind the counter. A metal staircase on the right leads up to a second, much larger, bar room, which is boarded throughout and extends onto a large covered balcony patio that the pub shares with it’s neighbours. Fine views extend across the marina towards Portsdown Hill. The interior is a mixture of traditional tables and chairs as well as high tables and bar stools. There is a raised deck in the far right-hand corner of the room. Plenty of gaming machines are on hand and the pub is fitted with a sound system which is put to use later in the evenings.
A range of four cask ales is sold, with beers often sourced from local microbreweries. As one would expect with Wetherspoon, there is a large choice of other keg beers, ciders, foreign bottled products, wines and spirits. Food is served all day.
Pub Operator: J D Wetherspoon
Reviewed 27th April 2015
Photographs: (above) 27th April 2015; (below) 27th April 2015; 27th April 2015; 26th February 2007.
The Sir John Baker
80 London Road
023 9262 7960
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 07:00 ’til 23:00; Fri Sat 07:00 ’til 00:30; Sun 07:00 ’til 23:00
The second Wetherspoon outlet to appear on Portsea Island, the John Baker opened its doors around the turn of the 21st century and is housed in a former banking premises in North End’s busy shopping centre. A typical JDW pub, it consists of one large, rectangular bar area, with uniform rows of both high and low tables and chairs uniformly aligned along the length of the pub – with as many as possibly seemingly squeezed in to an almost uncomfortable degree. Plenty of gaming machines are located opposite the bar counter and wall-mounted televisions show rolling news or pub advertisements.
Up to eight cask beers are sold, including five ever-changing guest ales. As one would expect from Wetherspoon, there is a wide range of all types of drinks available and food is served all day. In summer the frontage of the pub is opened up to give the feel of a continental café. Biannual beer festivals are hosted.
Pub Operator: J D Wetherspoon
Reviewed 31st January 2015
Photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below) 15th July 2007; 19th September 2004.
The Sir Loin of Beef
152 Highland Road
023 9282 0115
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 00:00
Starting life as the Cambridge Arms in the 19th century, this corner house in Eastney’s residential district became the Sir Loin Of Beef in 1977. It was one of a small number of Eldridge Pope pubs in the city until being sold on in the 1990s. Now a genuine free house, the pub features a single, carpeted, U-shaped room, split into two distinct areas. The main room, where the bar counter can be found, has traditional tables and chairs with upholstered bench seats aligned along the wall. A collection of breweries’ parasol canopies hang from the ceiling and the mustard-coloured walls are decorated with naval memorabilia (the licensee is a former submariner) and framed civil engineering prints. Bar stools are aligned along the counter and a selection of daily newspapers are on hand. There is a small collection of ships’ badges and a row of Oakleaf Brewery ceramic pots hang above the bar-back. Two gaming machines can be found in the pub. The second, smaller drinking area contains a bar billiards table and a jukebox. The naval theme continues here and there are two large framed prints upon the back wall.
The SLOB serves eight constantly-changing well-priced cask ales, mainly from small independent brewers and is a permanent outlet for Titanic Plum Porter. In addition there are a good number of unusual keg products such as Marston’s Revisionist Pale Ale, Titanic Stout and Hepworth’s Saxon Lager. A good range of quality bottled beers is on offer, including take-out bottles from Downton and Goldmark breweries for around £3.00 each. Plenty of wines and spirits are stocked and the pub is an outlet for Gale’s Country Wines. Cheese and onion rolls are sold for £1.20.
The pub holds a weekly meat raffle on Sunday afternoons, when there is also live music performed.
The Sir Loin of Beef is one of Portsmouth’s best pubs and well worth a visit.
Pub Operator: P S Jevons (Free House)
Reviewed 2nd February 2015
Photographs: (above) 9th November 2015 (below, left to right) 1st September 2010; 19th September 2004; 11th May 1989; 11th May 1989.
The Slug & Lettuce
80/82 Palmerston Road
023 9286 3981
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 10:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 10:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 23:00
Opened in 1996 by Whitbread as part of the Hogshead Ale House chain of pubs, this large bar was sold off to the Laurel Pub Company two years later and rebranded as the Hog’s Head, retaining a similar interior to the former but without the emphasis on cask ale. By the summer of 2007 Laurel had refurbished the pub and reopened it as part of the Slug & Lettuce chain, which until 2008 was expanding across the country following the company’s purchase of the brand from Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries. Laurel later found itself in financial difficulty and the pub was taken over by a newly-established company, Bay Restaurant Group.
The single room is separated into three or four distinct areas, with the bar counter running along the length of the right-hand wall, which itself is covered with mirrored tiles and has many small shelves used for displaying bottles of wines and spirits. The pub is furnished with a mixture of traditional tables and chairs, banquettes and high tables lined with swivelling bar stools. A collection of old photos depicting scenes from bygone Portsmouth is displayed towards the rear of the house. A number of quirky, modernist chandeliers illuminate the pub. Televisions mounted on the walls show BBC News or advertisements relating to pub offers. A vast number of loudspeakers are positioned around the pub, along with a number of dancefloor lights, indicating that the pub transforms into something of a pre-club venue later at night. Gaming machines are positioned around the bar.
Food is served throughout the day and includes a ‘main course and a drink’ offer for £5.95 from Tuesdays to Fridays 12pm-6pm. As far as drink is concerned, two cask ales, Greene King IPA and Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter, are sold and there is a choice of five keg lagers, including Marstons Revisionist Craft Lager. A wide range of spirits is stocked, with many varieties of vodka and a good selection of single malt whiskies.
Pavement seating is available at the front of house.
Pub Operator: Bay Restaurant Group
Reviewed 2nd March 2015
Photographs: (above) 22nd July 2007; (below) 30th September 2006.
The Slug & Lettuce
023 9289 0070
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed 10:00 ’til 00:00; Thu-Sat 10:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 10:00 ’til 23:30
This modern bar in the city’s Gunwharf Quays development occupies a commanding position overlooking the harbour and Gunwharf Marina and occupies two storeys, both of which has its own bar counter. The pub is bare-boarded and offers a choice of high tables and bench seats or traditional tables and chairs. A trio of large, ornately framed mirrors dominate the downstairs bar and various chandeliers of differing size are suspended below the ventilation ducts above. A large television is hung on one wall and piped music is played. The upstairs bar is the largest of the two seating areas and has fine views of the harbour. A large outside patio area proves very popular during the warmer months.
At the bar, a good range of keg beers, cider, wines and spirits is stocked, though real ale is no longer sold due to poor sales. However, the keg range includes some high quality brands including Harviestoun Schiehallion, Purity Longhorn IPA and West St Mungo’s lager. A comprehensive, well-priced menu is on offer, with food available all day.
Pub Operator: Bay Restaurant Group
Reviewed 15th January 2015 (updated 23rd April 2015)
Photographed 13th July 2008.
The Southsea Village
81 Palmerston Road
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 ’til 23:00; Fri-Sat 11:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 11:00 ’til 22:30
This premises was originally a shop until converted to a public house by the name of the Palmerston in 1948. In 1981 it was renamed Owens, in tribute to Thomas Ellis Owen, who was responsible for much of the planning and design of 19th century Southsea. The house gradually became rather neglected in the latter years of Owens, with custom falling as more fashionable bars opened in the immediate area during the 2010s. The pub’s renaissance came in mid 2017, when new owners reopened the premises as the Southsea Village.
The large bar room has exposed brick walls and pillars and is divided into a number of separate areas, furnished with a mixture of high tables and stools, traditional tables and chairs and comfortable armchairs and sofas. A series of cages run along the right-hand wall, containing displays of the wines and bottled beers available. A small number of television screens show sporting events, whilst piped music is played throughout the pub. To the rear can be found a glass-fronted room dominated by a central table-tennis table and surrounded by additional seating. The left-hand wall here has hundreds of logs set into it.
Unusually, the pub’s kitchen is located at the front of house and is on full view to all. The well-stocked bar counter is found beyond this and features four local cask ales (from Fallen Acorn and Southsea Brewing Co. at the time of review), with up to a dozen keg lagers, beers and ciders. Additionally, six taps on the back-bar dispense ‘craft’ brews from producers both within the UK and abroad. A wine list, featuring thirty different bottles, can be found on each table. Chill cabinets are well stocked with bottled beers and ciders from independent UK producers, as well as offerings from the USA and mainland Europe. Spirit drinkers are well catered for, with a large choice of gins, a variety of single malt whiskies, vodkas and other shorts.
The comprehensive menu features burgers, stone-baked pizzas and a large selection of pub favourites, with prices being competitive for the area.
The Southsea Village should prove very successful and is a good example of how a run-down, unfashionable pub can be turned into a destination bar for 21st century drinkers and diners.
Pub Operator: Urban Village Pub Company
Reviewed 24th June 2017
Photographs: (above) 29th June 2017 (below, left to right) 9th March 2017; 6th August 2005; 13th July 2008; May 2003 (by Ray Scarfe); April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.
023 9263 9673
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 07:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 07:00 ’til 22:00
Constructed in 1999 to partner a new Travelodge with which the pub shares its plot, the Sovereigns is aimed at travellers, families and transient buisinessmen, offering all day meals and facilities for children. The rambling interior provides numerous seating areas and the walls are adorned with framed artwork, many of which depict local scenes. There are gaming machines throughout the pub and an ATM is provided towards the eastern end of the bar. Car parking is provided.
The range of drinks offered is standard fayre for an establishment such as this, although two cask ales are a welcome inclusion – these being Wadworth 6X and Greene King Old Speckled Hen at the time of survey.
Pub Operator: Greene King
Reviewed 17th January 2015
Photographed 6th August 2005.
The Spice Island Inn
1 Bath Square
023 9287 0543
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 11:00 ’til 22:30
Conceived in 1991 as the result of a union between the Lone Yachtsman and the Coal Exchange, the Spice Island Inn was the brainchild of Whitbread marketing men who saw fit to destroy the history contained within the fabric of the two aforementioned pubs and convert them into one huge, modern hostelry. The building is nevertheless Grade II listed. Its prominent location on the waterfront ensures that it still receives a good patronage, especially in the summer months when tourists and locals flock to the area.
The pub is now owned by Suffolk brewer Greene King and has a predominance of exposed wood throughout its large floorspace. The ground floor of the pub consists of two or three separate drinking areas, with the largest of these surrounding the bar counter. The house is furnished with traditional tables and chairs, plus a number of upholstered bench seats. A central staircase leads to another large first floor area which may be hired for private functions, as well as being open to the public at busier times. There are original fireplaces in both bar areas. Maritime photographs and prints of bygone Portsmouth adorn the half-boarded walls. Piped music is played and there are gaming machines and an ATM available. An outside seating area on Bath Square proves very popular in warm weather, providing excellent views northward and westward across Portsmouth Harbour to Portsdown Hill.
At the bar, up to five real ales are stocked. These all come from Greene King’s portfolio and include a 3.9% house beer by the name of Spice Island Ale. A good range of other drinks is sold, including a choice of single malt whisky (including the excellent 16 year old Lagavulin).
Along with the adjacent Still & West Country House, these two pubs are all that remain of the dozens that once filled Bath Square and Broad Street during the 19th century, when smuggling, drunkenness and prostitution were rife. Thankfully the area is now a much more pleasant place in which to enjoy a harbourside drink!
Notes on the two pubs that now form the Spice Island Inn:
THE COAL EXCHANGE: Originally the North Country Tavern, the pub was also known as the Jolly Sailor before becoming the Coal Exchange in around 1859.
THE LONE YACHTSMAN: Known as the Union Tavern for well over 150 years, the name can still be seen in the photographs below, at second floor level. In 1968 the tavern was renamed the Lone Yachtsman in tribute to circumnavigator Sir Alec Rose and also featured a Lively Lady Bar, named after the yacht that took him around the globe.
Pub Operator: Greene King
Reviewed 26th January 2015
Photographs: (above) 3rd January 2005; (below, top row, left to right) 3rd February 2009; 27th January 2008; 15th July 2007; 15th July 2007; September 2004 (by Ray Scarfe)
(below, bottom row, left to right) 11th May 1989; 11th May 1989; September 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 1970s.
Licenced Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 07:00 ’til 01:00; Fri Sat Sun 07:00 ’til 02:00
This attractive, landmark cornerhouse was built as an hotel in 1892 to a design by respected pub architect A H Bone. Originally owned by the Peters Brewery, the pub passed through a number of interim owners such as Young’s, Friary Meux (Allied) and Gale’s, until ending up in the hands of Chiswick-based Fuller Smith and Turner. The building features a large carving of a stag at roof level.
Now sporting a large, single bar room, in an elongated U-Shape, the interior has half-boarded walls and features some striking glazed tile work in what was once the public bar, as well as in the entrance porch. The house is bare-boarded and features scrubbed tables and traditional seating. At the far end of the bar counter, in the former saloon bar, can be found bar billiards and pool tables. A dart board is located at the front of the pub. A jukebox and gaming machine is available and there is a television mounted on the wall. A small patio area is located at the rear of the pub.
Fuller’s London Pride is the sole cask ale offered – though bottles of the excellent ESB are also offered. A standard range of keg beers, lager, cider, wines and spirits is stocked. Sunday roasts are served and a curry night is hosted on Fridays. Breakfasts are served from 8:30 to 11:00am on Saturdays. A meat raffle is drawn at 5:30pm Sundays.
Pub Operator: Fuller Smith & Turner
Reviewed 19th February 2015 (updated 5th September 2017)
Photographs: (above) 5th September 2017; (below, left to right) 13th July 2008; 14th August 2005; 14th August 1988; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988.
Staggeringly Good Tap Room
Unit 3, St George’s Industrial Estate, Rodney Road, Southsea, PO4 8SS
023 9229 7033
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Wed closed; Thu 14:00 ’til 19:00; Fri 14:00 ’til 21:00; Sat 12:00 ’til 18:00; Sun closed.
Opened to the public in April 2016, this small, friendly bar can be found within the Staggeringly Good brewhouse, tucked away on an industrial estate off Rodney Road. The interior has been lovingly, and painstakingly, constructed by the brewery’s owners themselves and the attention to detail is remarkable. The company’s dinosaur theme features strongly here, with even the beer taps on the ‘megawall‘ being fashioned in the shape of various prehistoric creatures! Portholes punctuate the wall, through which a virtual aquarium can be glimpsed (or maybe a dinosaur or two!) and a large projector screen descends from the ceiling for the hosting of occasional film nights. Furnishings consist of a large heavy-duty table, together with wooden cable drums on which to place your drinks. Seating is a mixture of bar stools and upturned kegs, upholstered with cushions. Piped music is played. Snacks, in the form of crisps and peanuts, are also available. Customers are welcome to bring in takeaway food to eat on site.
At the front of house is a small bar counter, where two further beer taps can be found. This doubles as the brewery shop, from where visitors may purchase T-shirts, bottles, mini kegs and ‘growlers’ to take away.
The brewery is an excellent addition to the Portsmouth beer scene and deserves to have a very bright future.
Pub Operator: Staggeringly Good Beer
Reviewed 5th May 2016
Photographed 5th May 2016.
The Star & Garter
230 Copnor Road
023 9266 3206
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 ’til 23:00
Built in the 1920s for Portsmouth United Breweries, the Star & Garter is a large roadhouse-style pub that is popular with residents from the surrounding area. Still sporting the glazed green brickwork of its original owners, the pub later became part of the Brickwood’s estate before being swallowed up by London-based national brewer Whitbread in the early 1970s.
As was the trend in the 1980s, the pub lost its original public and lounge bars and was knocked through into one, very large room. A further refurbishment during the mid 1990s unusually saw this ‘vandalism’ reversed, with the pub once again gaining two separate rooms, divided by a glass partition with adjoining doors. Now in the hands of major Suffolk pub owner and brewer Greene King, the house is part of the company’s Meet & Eat chain of pubs.
The pub is furnished to a good standard, with a mix of high and low tables, bar stools and upholstered chairs. A number of seating booths can be found in the right-hand bar area, overlooking Burrfields Road. This area contains an original fireplace with wood burner at the end of the bar counter. There is a pool table in the main bar, together with a dart board and televisions, on which BT and Sky Sports is shown. Gaming machines are located throughout the pub. An ATM is on hand for those in need of extra beer money.
There is a south-facing patio and heated smoking area. Parking is available for around a dozen cars.
Two cask beers are served. These being Greene King IPA and London Glory as of September 2017. A pair of boxed, Lilley’s ciders is also stocked. There is a standard range of keg beers, lagers, wines and spirits. The pub serves food all day (see website).
Pub Operator: Greene King
Reviewed 24th January 2015 (updated 5th September 2017)
Photographs: (above) 5th September 2017; (below, left to right) 14th August 2005; 13th July 2008; September 2003 (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988.
The Still & West Country House
2 Bath Square
023 9282 1567
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 11:30 ’til 22:30
Possibly the best known of all Portsmouth’s public houses, this historic Grade II listed harbourside inn has existed since the early 18th century and was originally the Still Tavern. The marriage of the landlord’s daughter to a neighbour at the nearby East & West Country House saw the pub acquire its present-day name, though sadly current owner Fuller Smith & Turner has now dropped the pub’s full title following its most recent refurbishment in March 2017.
The ground floor consists of a sizeable, bare-boarded L-shaped bar room that overlooks the entrance to Portsmouth harbour. The decor is predominantly pastel shades of blue/green and furnishings consist of a wide variety of styles including leather armchairs, stools, upholstered bench seats and more traditional seating, all grouped around tables of varying height and size. One nice touch is a high bench seat facing the windows that overlook the water, providing drinkers with an uninterrupted view of the harbour movements. The walls display a variety of naval memorabilia and the ceiling boasts a large maritime work of art that has remained in situ following subsequent refurbishments over the years.
The first floor restaurant is smartly furnished and sports its own bar counter. The separate Vanguard Room (see bottom left-hand photograph below) may be hired for functions, as can the whole of the first floor level.
One notable feature that has sadly been lost following the pub’s latest refit is the large aerial photograph that once adorned the far wall of the downstairs bar room, depicting World War II battleship HMS Vanguard, taken in 1960 and showing the vessel run aground outside the pub whilst being towed out of Portsmouth Harbour on her way to the breakers yard at Faslane.
At the bar, a choice of four cask beers is offered – these being HSB, London Pride, Seafarers and a seasonal ale from the Fuller’s range. A number of beer taps dispense a variety of keg beers, lager and cider, including Fuller’s Montana Red, Frontier Lager, Wild River and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. A small range of quality bottled beers is stocked and there is a good choice of wines and spirits, including a selection of single malt whiskies. Food is served all day – fish & chips being the house speciality.
Customers should be aware that the Still & West is one of the more expensive pubs in which to drink in Portsmouth. Its enduring popularity ensures however that the pub continues to do a very good trade, especially throughout the Summer season.
Pub Operator: Fuller Smith & Turner
Reviewed 30th March 2017
Colour photographs: (above) 15th July 2007; (below, left to right) 26th September 2007; September 2004 (by Ray Scarfe); June 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989; 30th March 2017; 1970s.
16 Edinburgh Road
023 9266 5927
www.thestudyportsmouth.co.uk (yet to appear online)
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 ’til 02:30
This new independent bar opened in mid 2017 and occupies a ground floor area of Trafalgar House (formerly home to JD Wetherspoon’s now-closed Trafalgar pub). Access to the bar is via Spring Street, where the small, rectangular room is dominated by a trio of substantial, timber-topped tables aligned centrally along its length. These are overlooked by a large, contemporary artwork of a female face (in the style of local artist My Dog Sighs) mounted on the ceiling. A row of stools run the length of the left-hand wall, facing the windows that overlook Spring Street. The right side of the room features bench seating with high,velour backs, set around a series of small tables. The floor is varnished wood and the decor brightly coloured, with the bar counter placed at the far end of the room.
Draught beers consist solely of big-brand keg products, with the chiller cabinets stocked with a small number of bottled beers such as Wychwood Hobgoblin, Newcastle Brown Ale and BrewDog Punk IPA, as well as BrewDog’s low-alcohol offering Nanny State. A standard selection of wines and spirits is sold, including Glenfiddich single malt whisky. A range of cocktails is also offered.
Well-priced food, comprising a good selection of bagettes, sandwiches, salads and soups is served throughout the day.
Pub Owner/Operator: Nudles Portsmouth Ltd.
Reviewed 29th June 2017
Photographed 29th June 2017
428 Havant Road
023 9237 6030
Licenced Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 ’til 00:30
This large pre-war house located in a residential area along the main Havant Road is very much a community pub. On entering the single, square bar room, a pool table, dart board and jukebox can be found to the left. An attractive, dark wood bar counter extends along the east wall, inset with mirrors. A number of bar stools are lined up along the length of the counter. To the right can be found a raised deck, furnished with upholstered bench seats, armchairs and tables of varying sizes. Here can be found one of two of the pub’s original fireplaces, complete with coal grate. Televisions are positioned around the room and there are gaming machines opposite the bar. Pub quizes are held. Framed prints and paintings decorate the walls. There is a large south-facing garden and patio to the rear of the pub, with a downstairs function room that can be hired for parties.
A single cask beer is sold – this being Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter – and a small choice of bottled ales, such as Charles Wells Bombardier and Theakstons Old Peculier, is often stocked. A standard range of keg beers, cider, wines and spirits is stocked. Bar food is offered, including Sunday roasts (12-3pm) for £5.00.
Pub Owner/Operator: EI Group
Reviewed 19th January 2015 (updated 28th October 2016)
Photographs: (above) 21st December 2015 (below) 6th September 2015 (by D Seall); 11th March 2007; May 2001 (by Ray Scarfe).
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 23:00
Tucked away off Commercial Road, the Surrey Arms was bult in 1891 and opened as the Victoria Hotel (as shown in the bottom right-hand photograph), gaining its present name in 1971 whilst owned by Brickwoods (see bottom left-hand photo). A sizeable two-bar pub, it was given a major refurbishment in 1985 by owners Whitbread. The pub became part of Whitbread’s Hogshead Ale Houses chain in 1994, gaining the dubious name of The Hogshead & Bucket.
Thankfully this name change was reversed in 2002, when a further refit returned the pub’s name to the Surrey Arms, by which time it had lost its Hogshead affiliation. The house has since changed hands a number of times, being part of the Greene King empire for a time before passing into the hands of a local independent firm.
Inside, the pub still looks very much how it did twenty five years ago. The main bar room can be found through the left-hand door as you enter from the street. This L-shaped room has a raised deck in the southwest corner and the bar counter occupies the east side. The bar is bare-boarded with traditional furnishings and stools around the counter. Gaming machines and a television can be found, along with a jukebox. This room is connected at the rear to the original lounge bar which features some impressive woodwork and beautifully etched mirrored glass. There is a dart board in the front corner of the room and pool table is located to the rear. A small smoking area is accessed via the side fire door.
Drinks consist of a standard range of keg beers, lager and cider along with a limited range of wines and spirits. The single cask ale is Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter. Newcastle Brown Ale is also available.
Pub Operator: Dunglen Ltd
Reviewed 22nd January 2015
Colour photographs: (above) 14th August 2005; (below, left to right) 13th July 2008; November 2002 (by Ray Scarfe); June 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 18th February 1990.