Future of Portsmouth pub looks bright as Gosport brewery unveils plan to take it over

Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

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It’s been closed for months and had a difficult past.

But now the future of The Florist in Fratton Road, Fratton, Portsmouth, is looking bright as a local brewery unveils plans to snap up its lease.

There is nowhere offering craft or a great range of beers, unless you go to the chain pubs like Wetherspoons. There is a lot of potential to do something different.

Oakleaf sales representative Martyn Constable

Oakleaf Brewing Company, in Mumby Road, Gosport, has decided it wants to step in and transform the pub and ensure it becomes a haven for real ale, craft and foreign beer fans.

The firm doesn’t intend to sell any national brands and wants to create a chilled atmosphere for visitors.

It is a major boost for the region’s pub industry – Oakleaf would become the first brewery in the area to take on a pub.

It is hoped the venue will re-open by early November once a major refurbishment has been carried out.

Oakleaf sales representative Martyn Constable would then act as manager for its first three months back in operation before full-time pub staff are found.

Martyn said: ‘It’s an area where most pubs seem to be roughly the same.

‘There’s nowhere offering craft beers or a great range of beers, unless you go to the chain pubs like Wetherspoon’s.

‘There is a lot of potential to do something different.

‘It’s a showpiece for our own ales, but it’s also a showpiece for other ales, craft beers and foreign beers which you can’t get in this area.’

Some parts would be bright and modern and the back bar would be traditional and more of a lounge bar.

Six real ales, nine craft beers and a range of foreign bottled beers would also be on offer. Three of the real ales would come from Oakleaf’s stock and others from other local producers.

Martyn said: ‘It’s a lovely old Brickwoods building which still has little details like on the windows where you have some nice history to them.

‘We would be keeping as much of the historical aspect as we can.

‘But the front bar would be modernised, as it needs a complete overhaul.’

Martyn said the brewery’s aspirations were a reflection of its success and desire to expand. He said: ‘There are no other breweries in south Hampshire that have got their own pubs.

‘The nearest is Triple fff Brewing Company in Alton, which has three pubs, and one of them is in Portsmouth – The Artillery Arms.’

The Florist was built in 1924 by Portsmouth architect Arthur Cogswell for The Brickwoods Brewery, which was based in Portsea, Portsmouth. Oakleaf’s beers include Quercus Folium, Nuptu’Ale, Pompey Royal and Hole Hearted.

, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter and IPA.