A popular pub best- known for its speciality of real ales reopened its doors to customers last week after being forced to close earlier this year because of rent disputes.
The award-winning Leopold Tavern, in Albert Road, Southsea, reopened on Friday after it closed in February when former landlord Stuart Ainsworth left.
Stuart, who ran the pub for 14 years, said he had made the difficult decision to surrender the lease after landlords Ei Group plc – formerly Enterprise Inns – had raised the site’s rent to ‘ridiculous’ levels.
The pub, which was crowned the best pub in the region by the Portsmouth and south-east branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), has now been taken over by a new publican, Jade Morris.
The 22-year-old, from Cosham, is running the pub for an interim period while pub owner Ei Group assesses the options for the site.
The reopening of the pub this weekend proved to be popular with the community, with scores of customers popping in for a drink.
Jade said: ‘It was an interesting day. It was steady throughout the day and picked up around 6pm.
‘Overall, it went really well. They were quite happy that we were keeping it quite similar to how it used to be.’
‘We’ve had quite a lot of people walk past and pop their head in and ask if we’re open, seeing what sort of stuff we were doing.’
Ivars Galins, 32, a member of staff at the Leopold, said: ‘People even popped down from different areas of the town just to check out how we were doing.
‘I would say it was a very successful weekend.’
Loyal customers even travelled across the county for the reopening of the popular pub.
Jade added: ‘A gentleman and his wife came down from Petersfield to see the pub reopen, which felt quite special.’
However, the Southsea venue will only be under the management of Jade for 10 weeks, before being passed on to another manager.
Jade said: ‘It’s all about getting the Facebook page and everything back up and running. I am going to make it the best that I can during my 10 weeks.’
The closure of the pub earlier this year attracted much public attention and concern from the local community.
The Leopold Tavern is open seven days a week from midday and offers a variety of locals ales, beers and quirky IPAs.
There are four real ales on tap, which change each week.
This week the pub is serving Iron Duke, Goodness Gold, Type 42 and Perridge Pale.