From quirky bars painted top to toe with bizarre murals, to traditional pubs with a huge selection of ales and lagers, there are enough varied watering holes in Portsmouth to keep each and every pub-goer happy. Here are ten of our all-time favourites.
Deco’s a favourite with students and locals, and there’s always an interesting crowd at this quirky, alternative bar. Metal or rock is usually playing in the evenings, and the atmosphere is chilled out and laidback. The bar team also serve up some great value pint cocktails. If you’re a fan of good old fashioned pub quizzes, then be sure to head to Deco on a Sunday where you can win cash prizes for knowing your stuff.
128 Elm Grove, PO5 1LR – thedecopub.co.uk
The One Eyed Dog
Monsters check under their bed for Gentle Bren ⚡️Tonight on the decks 'til 1.30am playing trap/dancehall/funk pic.twitter.com/mzLieIIps1
— The One Eyed Dog (@OEDSouthsea) February 13, 2016
The One Eyed Dog certainly stands out on Albert Road because of its eye-catching new mural, which was painted by local lad Jack Mitchell. A haywire orange and black collage of humanoid animals, cityscapes and tiger stripes, the mural really sums up the eccentric feel of the bar itself. Another place with a rocky and alternative vibe, The One Eyed Dog usually has some great tunes playing and drinks at an affordable price.
117 Elm Grove, PO5 1LU – facebook.com/TheOneEyedDog
The Fat Fox
Tried one of our new spirits yet?
Maybe tonight's the night… pic.twitter.com/NsvHM7c31W
— The Fat Fox (@FatFoxPub) October 13, 2015
It’s difficult to feel anything but chilled at The Fat Fox. Grab a beer – sometimes they have lollipops at the bar as well – sink back in one of the large leather sofas and take it easy. If you want to have a catch up with your mates, listen to a gig or follow the football, this is a great place to shake off the day. And yes, there’s pub grub if you’re feeling peckish – they’ve got a build-your-own-menu system, so you can have exactly what you fancy.
11-13 Victoria Road South, PO5 2SP – thefatfox.com
— Wine Vaults (@Wine_vaults) February 22, 2016
The Vaults is a bit of a rabbit warren – there are a bunch of connecting rooms at different levels, but it’s a really atmospheric watering hole with a lot of character. Right over the road from the King’s Theatre, you’ll spot The Vaults from down the road thanks to the bikes sticking out from its exterior walls. Alongside it’s menu – by the way, the pizza here is great – the pub also has a fab range of cask real ale and craft lager.
41-47 Albert Road, PO5 2SF – wine-vaults-southsea.co.uk
The Bridge Tavern
A traditional pub in the middle of Old Portsmouth, the traditional Bridge Tavern is a great place to stop for pub grub or for a quiet drink. This is another pub instantly recognisable because of the giant mural painting on the outside wall – although it’s a far cry from the postmodern mash up that’s Jack Mitchell’s artwork. It’s a huge rendition of Portsmouth Point, based off of an etching by late eighteenth century caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson. It would seem locals have been getting boozy in Old Portsmouth since time immemorial.
54 East Street, PO1 2JJ – bridge-tavern-portsmouth.co.uk
The Duke of Buckingham
— Duke of Buckingham (@Buckingham119) January 15, 2016
The Duke of Buckingham is great if you’re looking for a real classic pub to grab a pint in. It’s quiet, cosy and (like any good pub) has all manner of strange paraphernalia tucked in every nook and cranny – on the walls, on the shelves, and even up near the ceiling.
119 High Street, PO1 2HW – dukeofbuckingham.co.uk
The Still & West
— The Still and West (@StillandWest) October 19, 2015
In the middle of Spice Island, directly facing Gunwharf and the Spinnaker Tower, sits The Still & West. With the low, mural-painted ceilings, red leather sofas, and walls adorned with local historical photographs and prints, it’s a really relaxed place to enjoy a glass of wine by the seafront. The upstairs seating area is all windows – like a greenhouse – so you can enjoy the sunshine and look out over the harbour while indulging in a bevvy or two.
2 Bath Square, PO1 2JL – stillandwest.co.uk
Love our Croque Madam (photo by A Benham), – Fresh sourdough, – Pulled ham hock, – Gruyère , – A free range egg pic.twitter.com/pevaAqGkEN
— HUIS (@huissouthsea) February 2, 2016
HUIS is a relatively new Belgian eatery and watering hole, located on Elm Grove. It’s known for its interesting and wide-ranging selection of beers and for the delicious, inventive meals on the menu, if you’re a little peckish. HUIS have an app called iHUIS, which showcases some of their selection of draughts and bottles, so be sure to check it out if you’re after something special.
62 Elm Grove, PO5 1JG – facebook.com/huissouthsea
The Honest Politician
Another big favourite with Portsmouth-based students, The Honest Politician is a great place for a night out – but be aware, it can get pretty busy during weekends. At other times, Pompey locals often head here for a couple of games of pool and a drink in this chilled pub. The Honest Politician also has a pretty decent selection of local beers.
47-49 Elm Grove, PO5 1JF – facebook.com/thehonestpoliticiansouthsea
The Hole in the Wall
— Mike Cook (@utarg) December 28, 2015
The Hole in the Wall is often given the thumbs up by Southsea residents and visitors alike due to its comfortable, welcoming atmosphere and it’s cracking range of hand-pulled ales and lagers. The team at this pub try to offer a new beer every week and keep their website updated with all the forthcoming special beers so you can plan ahead. The Hole in the Wall also offers homemade meals and snacks – specifically sausages and mash and sandwiches. Proper comfort food.
36 Great Southern Street, PO5 3BY – theholeinthewallpub.co.uk
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Main image: Facebook / HUIS