In Spring 2007, I took it on myself to visit every single pub in Southampton after finding out there was a pub round the corner from me I never realised existed (and I’ve lived here for four years!). How many more undiscovered hostelries were there? Over the course of about six weeks, I visited every one with the help of some willing (and sometimes unwilling!) volunteers and rated them out of five in five categories. It has hard, gruelling work but very enjoyable.
Since then, I have made several attempts at repeating the survey; alas that never happened properly. Now, in Spring 2013, I am doing a desk-based survey (sorry, I have obviously been reading too many documents about building redevelopment); that is, researching things online or from previous records. I have, in my photographic archives, photos of most of the pubs in the original survey and will include these where appropriate.
However, while my original study was assessing and ‘scoring’ pubs on various criteria, such as attractiveness, atmosphere, entertainment and, most importantly, the range and quality of their intoxicating liquors, this new survey is sadly cataloguing the demise of a great many of the pubs in the original study.
I am working through my lists of pubs in alphabetical order. Where pubs have changed names, I will just add a reference with ‘see xxxx’ to its current name.
Click here to see an OS OpenSpace<&sup>® map of Southampton pubs, past and present. The green markers are still open, the red ones are currently closed (but could reopen), thus very endangered, and the blue ones have either been demolished or permanently converted into housing/shops/offices and so on. I would like to differentiate between demolished and surviving pubs with a different colour but for now, they’re both blue.
6 Bellvue Street, SO15 2AY
This pub is popular for many reasons
Prince of Wales
Woolston Royal British Legion Club
Art House Cafe
Bitterne Park Hotel
The Grapes is a traditional-style pub with a lot of history. Legend has it that six crew members of the Titanic went in the pub before the ill-fated liner’s maiden voyage and got a bit tipsy, losing track of time. They were too late so didn’t go aboard.
The Grapes has a lot of Titanic-related pictures and documents adorning the walls and is pleasantly furnished. It has four real ales and is always busy, although it is considered by many to be expensive.
As well as four rooms available as accommodation, it has live music every Thursday and screens football matches on a regular basis.
The London Hotel is one of Southampton’s most attractive pubs. Erected in 1907 by Forder’s Hampton Court Brewery, its green tiles and stone facade are unique in Southampton. The interior is equally impressive. With an island style bar, another feature that is rare for Southampton pubs and fine blue and gold curtains, it has an air of opulence and is somewhat theatrical. It is also very camp! Being Southampton’s only traditional-style gay pub, this works very well.
There is regular live music, with karaoke every Thursday (compered by Pat Cruise) various cabaret acts on Friday and Sunday night and a monthly quiz. The London serves food at lunchtime and has Hobgoblin on draught and a guest beer as well. Smokers benefit from tables with umbrellas outside the front of the pub.
Antico was formerly a Greene King pub called the Court Jester; however, it has recently been refurbished to a very high standard into a different kind of venue. It has hotel rooms and a formal restaurant area, which are the main focus of the venue, but there is a bar area for drinkers as well. It has cocktails, and regular offers on those; however, there is no real ale. It is remarkable as it has its own iPhone and Android app.