17 London Road
023 9265 5739
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 10:00 ’til 00:00; Fri Sat 10:00 ’til 01:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30
Starting life in the 19th century as the North Pole, this little pub had been converted to a shop by the 1950s. In 1985 it once again became a licensed premises, known as the Brewery Tap, acting as an outlet for the Southsea Brewery which had began brewing three years earlier in adjacent Pitcroft Lane.
The pub was once considered Portsmouth’s premier real house – a genuine Free House, offering a range of eight cask ales and real cider. Sadly, following the retirement of the former licensee, the pub lost its free house status, being sold off to one of the countries largest pub operators, Punch Taverns.
Nowadays, the pub still attracts a number of loyal customers, plus passing trade during the daytime, but not the level of custom that it once enjoyed in its heyday. The single bar room was given a full refurbishment in the autumn of 2016 and now sports a tasteful decor which includes a large, striking image of Portsmouth’s famous landmarks adorning the length of the right-hand wall. Floors are predominantly bare-boarded except for a small area beneath the dart board (which curiously has no accompanying ockie and is obstructed by a table). Furnishings consist of a mix of banquette seating, bar stools and benches set around tables of varying size and height. A series of framed prints is displayed on the walls and there are etched mirrors affixed to the supporting columns in the centre of the room.
The bar counter is dominated by a number of brass lighting columns and is home to a number of keg fonts dispensing big-brand lagers, cider and stout. Sadly, only three cask beers are now sold (compared to the eight that could once be found here) – these being Wells & Youngs Directors, Sharp’s Doom Bar Bitter and St Austell Tribute. A fourth handpump offers Thatcher’s Heritage Cider. A reasonable range of wines and spirits is stocked, with Glenfiddich being the sole single malt whisky. A selection of widely-available bottled beers, ciders and other products are served from the chill cabinets.
Three televisions are mounted on the walls around the pub and piped music is played. The Tap hosts live music on occasion and there is a gaming machine situated opposite the bar counter. Food is served throughout the day and consists of popular pub staples such as burgers, fish and chips, pizza and Sunday roasts.
A secluded courtyard drinking area can be found to the rear of the pub.
Pub Operator: Punch Taverns
Reviewed 24th January 2015 (updated 12th December 2016)
Photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, left to right) July 2005; 13th July 2008; June 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988.
The Thatched House
023 9282 1527
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00 ’til 23:00
Tucked away near the old Milton Locks at the far end of Locksway Road, a pub called the Thatched House has stood here for at least 150 years. Originally part of the local Young’s Brewery estate, it later became part of national brewer Allied and operated as part of its Friary Meux chain. Nowadays the pub is now in the hands of Greene King.
The Thatched House is predominantly an eaterie and is popular with families, especially during the summer months when the pub’s large garden on the shore of Milton Lake comes into its own. Inside, the pub is carpeted throughout and divided into a number of different seating areas, furnished with traditional tables and chairs, plus high tables and stools closer to the bar counter. The half-boarded walls are decorated with varying colour schemes and there is a children’s indoor play area to the rear.
A single, rotating, cask ale is served, with beers sourced from such breweries as Sharp’s, Thwaites, Brains and St Austell. A selection of keg beers and lagers is stocked, along with a good selection of wines and spirits, including a choice of single malt whiskies. Food is served all day (see website for sample menu).
Pub Operator: Greene King
Reviewed 5th March 2015
Photographs: (above) 4th February 2007; (below, left to right) 15th October 2007; 11th May 1989; March 1998 (by Ray Scarfe).
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 11:30 ’til 23:00
A pub by the name of the Thatched House existed on this site for around 150 years and was originally owned by the Miles Brewery. Originally a two bar local and in the hands of Whitbread for many years, the rear lounge bar contrasted strongly with the public bar at the front. In 2002 the house received a major refit, including a new frontage and new name, Thatcher’s. This is a good example of how a comprehensive refurbishment can modernise a pub without destroying its previous appeal or character.
Now effectively a single open-plan area, the pub is still separated into three distinct areas. A bare-boarded room at the front of house is decorated with music memorabilia and images of American icons of the ’50s and ’60s and a dart board is hung on the wall to the right, adjacent to an original fireplace. Further into the pub is a comfortable lounge with upholstered seating situated opposite the bar counter. This in turn leads through to a raised, traditionally furnished area in the rear extension, which is mainly used by diners, but is available for all. A secluded patio garden runs down the right side of the pub.
Thatcher’s changed hands in the autumn of 2013 and owner Chris Lawrence has successfully breathed new life into the pub, reintroducing both lunchtime and evening meals, including traditional Sunday roasts. The pub’s drinks range has also been increased, with a choice of up to six cask conditioned ales sourced from independent and national producers. A selection of real ciders is stocked and Guinness Dublin Porter is available on draught (keg). There is a good choice of other beers, lagers, wines and spirits, including a good number of single malt whiskies.
Live entertainment is now hosted on Saturday and Sunday evenings and there is an open mic night on Mondays. A pub quiz is held on the second Wednesday of the month and a meat raffle is drawn on Fridays. There are gaming machines available and darts is played.
The pub is decorated with old metal advertisements and photographs of entertainers, including a collection of Laurel and Hardy memorabilia at the very rear of the pub, by the fish tank. A statue of Elvis Presley stands in the front bar.
Thatcher’s is a vibrant and friendly pub and well worth a visit when in the North End area of the city.
Pub Owner: EI Group
Reviewed 31st January 2015 (updated 6th February 2017)
Colour photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, left to right) 23rd January 2005; 11th May 1989; March 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).
106 Palmerston Road
Actual Opening Hours:
Mon 18:00 ’til 23:00; Tue closed; Wed Thu 18:00 ’til 23:00; Fri 18:00 ’til 00:00; Sat 12:00 ’til 00:00; Sun 13:00 ’til 22:30
This friendly, independently-owned beach-themed cocktail bar stands on a terrace with at least four other pubs. Appealing to a cross-section of the community, the house serves a variety of cocktails, wines and spirits, plus a range of keg beers and lagers including Whitstable Bay Pale Ale and Oyster Stout from Kentish brewer Shepherd Neame. Additionally there is a good choice of UK and Belgian beers, with ales from Gosport’s Oakleaf Brewery well represented. The bar is dog friendly (see website) and there is a small patio garden to the rear of the premises. A quiz is held on Thursday evenings and major sporting events are televised, including international rugby fixtures. Regular live music is performed at weekends.
Pub Operator: Three Bar Southsea Ltd.
Reviewed 11th April 2015
Photographed 12th June 2016
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11:00 ’til 23:00; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:30
This pub started life in the late 19th century as the Royal Oak – a Jewell’s Brewery house that kept its name for a number of decades. By 1958 it had been renamed the Three Marines in recognition of the nearby Royal Marines barracks on Cromwell Road. Following various takeovers and mergers the pub eventually became yet another Whitbread outlet, as had most in Portsmouth by the 1970s. It is now operated by national pubco Enterprise Inns.
Frequented almost exclusively by a local clientele, the main (former public) bar is mainly boarded, with a carpeted area to the front of the room. Furnishings are traditional and the walls are half-boarded, with a large collection of photographs of the pub’s regulars displayed to the rear. A dart board hangs on the left-hand wall and a collection of trophies sit on a high shelf above. A pool table stands at the back of the room. Sky Sports is used to show major footballing events and there is a jukebox and gaming/quiz machines. A meat raffle is drawn at 5pm on Sundays.
The bar counter features an attractive pot-shelf – and this extends into the former lounge bar at the rear of the pub, which nowadays is used as a pool room, where a second dart board and television can also be found. A small courtyard garden is located at the rear. The pub sells no cask beer and has a fairly standard range of keg beer, lagers, wines and spirits.
Pub Owner/Operator: Three Marines Enterprises Ltd
Reviewed 5th March 2015
Photographs: (above) 14th May 2009; (clockwise from top left) 14th May 2009; 14th May 2009; 30th September 2006; July 1992 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989;.
The Toby Carvery
023 9265 4645
Actual Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 08:00 ’til 23:00
Opened in 1992 as the Green Farm on the site of Portsea Island’s last working farm, this pub/diner and adjacent Travelodge is a popular eaterie for both locals and visitors to the area. It underwent a further refurbishment in 1998 at which time it adopted its present, generic name.
The main bar is situated in an impressive, Grade II listed, 18th century barn, with a riot of timber work forming the substantial roof space. Among the timbers are some particularly old examples, presumably rescued from elsewhere. The floorspace is split level and furnished traditionally. Framed black and white photographs of bygone Portsmouth hang on the walls around the raised deck. Piped music is played and subtitled television news is shown. Quiz and gambling machines are available and there is an ATM located towards the end of the bar counter.
At the bar there is a choice of two or three real ales (Sharp’s Doom Bar and St Austell Tribute as of September 2017) plus a choice of keg beers, cider, wines and spirits, including single malt whisky. Drinks prices are very reasonable, as is the extensive menu, available all day, with customers able to dine in the main bar or opt to use the separate restaurant. There is an outside patio area and large car park.
Pub Operator: Mitchells & Butlers
Reviewed 19th January 2015 (updated 5th September 2017)
Photographs: (above) 14th August 2005; (below) December 1994 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Trafalgar Arms
254 Fratton Road
023 9235 3495
Licenced Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 ’til 23:30; Sun 12:00 ’til 22:50
Built in 1926 for Brickwood’s and designed by prolific Portsmouth architect A E Cogwell, this house replaced another pub of the same name that was owned by the local Jewell Brewery. The Trafalgar once had a dubious reputation for troublesome football supporters (being a base for the infamous 6.57 Crew in the 1980s).
In 1991 the pub was sold by Whitbead to Dorchester brewer Eldridge Pope. Following the cessation of brewing by EP later in the decade, the pub changed hands once again and is now part of the vast Enterprise Inns portfolio. The interior has changed little since the pub’s Whitbread days. Consisting of a single L-shaped bar room, the front of house has parquet flooring, with the remainder being carpeted. Furnishings consist of traditional tables and chairs and vinyl covered bench seating. A fireplace is the focal point of the raised deck at the front of the pub. The Trafalgar’s most notable features are the wonderful bar fittings, with its ornately-carved pillars and an interesting pot-shelf that is suspended by metal rods from the woodwork above.
Darts, pool, gaming machines and a jukebox can all be found and there is a surprisingly large, lawned garden at the rear of the pub.Live music and karaoke events are held on a regular basis.
At the bar, Hop Back Summer Lightning is the regular cask ale. A selection of keg beers, lager, cider, wines and spirits is stocked, including Glenfiddich single malt whisky.
Pub Operator: EI Group
Reviewed 12th February 2015
Photographs: (above) 29th November 2015 (below, left to right) 14th February 2005; 18th March 2008; 4th February 2007; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 18th February 1990.