Time at the bar

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Over the past few weeks Portsea Island has lost another three public houses – The Florist in Fratton Road, The Florence in Florence Road and the Devonshire Arms in Devonshire Avenue, Southsea.

Hopefully the Florence will re-open within time, but who knows these days?

Along with the Grave Diggers in Highland Road, The Whitehouse in Eastney Road and the Taswell Arms in Taswell Road, Southsea it makes six pubs to have closed their doors over the past year or so.

Will there be a time when all locals will shut and everyone will have to drink in Wetherspoons? I hate to say it, but quite possibly. I drink, from time to time, in the Barley Mow in Castle Road, Southsea and I’m glad to say it still has a loyal customer base. But with the price of a pint forever on the increase, who can tell how long customers will keep on visiting pubs?

I know through speaking to publicans that the smoking ban has had a big part to play in closures. Many think it was not thought through and that landlords should have had a bigger say in the matter.

I spoke to two publicans who told me nearly all their customers still smoke and are sick of having to go outside in the garden.

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