Back to Pompey, or more properly Southsea, one of the great pubbing areas in the world, along with Stockport, Bewdley and the Amber Valley.
Oddly, Portsmouth itself is looking like a GBG desert, as this extract from the GBG App shows.
Yes, Southsea must have one of the highest concentrations of GBG pubs per head of population (Duncan has the stats). And plenty that aren’t in the Guide are great.
The customary three new GBG entries are all in Southsea, so I’m staying a night or two at the Burrito bar near the Phoenix, neither of which I graced with my custom this time.
A nice little stroll through the underrated suburbs and occasional street art to Apsley House in Auckland Road.
On that little Google map you can follow yourself as a little blue dot approaching the pub.
Ah, yes, the Auckland.
This looks like a pub from a fairytale.
I’d walked past it before and assumed it must be keg or sell Doom Bar or not offer CAMRA discounts and sandwiches to not be in the Guide (joke, Pompey CAMRA).
Gorgeous outside, marvellously pubby inside.
Two Old Boys and a cheery landlady said hello. Some cheery banter came from a back bar somewhere.
I asked which beer I should go for, in the manner of someone who has never had a beer before. I rejected her kindly offer of tasters. “A pint’s a taster” I said, predictably.
“The Irvin is very popular with locals, and it’s from just up the road“. Top answer. 10/10.
Normally I start on halves but this was pint territory.
What a great pub. Proper seating, “Breakfast In America” and “Rich Girl” on the radio, the banter pleasant and civilised. The glitterball suggests things change as night falls.
And a lovely pint, cool and frothy.
I got my GBG out of my man bag to give the Auckland its pink marker and two ticks (NBSS 3.5).
It wasn’t in the Guide.
I’d stopped 10 feet short, and confused my Apsleys with my Aucklands. An amateur error, but a pleasant one.
I savoured my bonus pint, the chat about impending operations (“Don’t worry, they’ll knock you out“) and “Take Me Home, Country Roads“, as you must.
A chap on crutches put his head round the door, just to say hello. You don’t get that in the Brewhouse & Kitchen.
I walked the 10 yards to the Apsley.