When walking into a pub, punters can instantly get a sense of the place.
It is not the decor or even which beers are on offer but just its atmosphere.
At The Portsbridge in Portsmouth Road, Cosham, a close-knit team produce a friendly atmosphere, driven by the friendship between 29-year-old manager Adam Lewis and his best mate, Ben Cutting, 27.
Adam took over the pub, which was then being refurbished, last September, and opened it with deputy manager Ben and four staff in October.
Adam said: ‘I made a deal quite a few years ago, that if I was ever to get a pub in Portsmouth he’d come and work for me and we went through with it.
‘We actually grew up together, I’ve known him since we were kids.
‘We crossed paths randomly over the years but we’ve always stayed in touch – to be fair he’s my best mate.
‘It’s good, we know each other well enough so we can be brutally honest with each other. We already knew what the other’s quirks were.
‘It made the move easier and helps the place run smoother.
‘We split everything down the middle, we each have different responsibilities at the pub.’
The divided but connected work of Adam and Ben is reflected in the layout of the pub too.
Adam wants to market the pub as something for everyone, with one large open-plan bar area divided simply by different types of furniture.
In one half there are lower tables for those wanting to take advantage of the food prepared by Adam and experienced cook Joy Robinson.
Toward the other side there are tables and chairs more suited to those who want to sit and drink, with different music and televisions in either section.
And with a beer garden at the back and a porch with a veranda at the front, it can accommodate punters when the weather gets warmer, or those needing to venture outside for a smoke.
That means there are plenty of places to go for the wide range of customers.
‘It’s a community pub, a friendly one,’ Adam said.
‘The brand that it’s under is a meet-and-eat, which obviously includes quite a bit of food, which we’re doing quite well on at the moment.
‘It’s a community pub, we’re right in the middle of Cosham and Highbury.
‘There’s something for everyone, with pool, darts, a quiz on Sundays and sports on too.’
Adam said he hopes to build up the pub’s sports teams and hold charity nights soon too.
MEET THE LANDLORD
LOCAL boy Adam Lewis has worked in bars and pubs for most of his life.
Growing up in Paulsgrove, he attended Oaklands school in Waterlooville before completing sixth form and leaving home to study at the University of Plymouth.
While there, he took on bar work to fund himself through his education but ended up spending more time working than studying.
He started work in bars in 2002 and was employed by a national company.
Adam said: ‘I worked from the age of 18 around the country for Walkabout.
‘I kind of fell into it and it went from there.’
‘I ran the one in Leeds and the one in Wolverhampton before that – I’ve worked in pretty much most of the cities around the UK.
But after years away he decided it was time for a change and grabbed the chance to run The Portsbridge in Cosham, just as Greene King was refurbishing it.
He said: ‘I was looking for a reason to move home – 10 years away is long enough.
‘This kind of fell into my lap as the perfect opportunity to make it all happen.’
Running a pub gives Adam a chance to meet different people and hear their stories.
He said he enjoyed seeing regulars day-to-day but that he sees a variety of punters.
‘I just enjoy the day to day interaction with people,’ he said.
‘Everyone’s got their own story, it’s quite cool finding them out. It’s about encouraging people to have a good time and let them enjoy themselves, there’s enough bad things going on in the world at the moment.’