Life at Portsmouth pub on the up after it gets makeover - 30 years in the making!

The newly re-furbished Graham Arms in Fratton, with  landlady Vicki Milligan 
Picture Ian Hargreaves (161339-2)

The newly re-furbished Graham Arms in Fratton, with landlady Vicki Milligan Picture Ian Hargreaves (161339-2)

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It’s not had a fresh coat of paint or had new carpets for at least 30 years.

But now life at The Graham Arms, in George Street, Buckland, is looking brighter after its owners stepped in and spruced it up.

It’s looking a lot better, but it hasn’t lost its backstreet pub feel. When I spoke to the brewery, I said I didn’t want it to be modernised and turned into a bistro or wine bar.

Landlady Vicki Milligan

Gone are the drab and tired features that could have put off visitors walking by.

In have come new toilets, curtains, tables and chairs, the walls have been repainted and the whole place has had a good scrub.

But the pub hasn’t lost its back-street boozer image, and the changes have gone down well with die-hard locals.

Optimistic landlady, Vicki Milligan says the future is looking bright – and she’s hoping to bring in new features to pull in more trade.

She hopes to roll out Sunday roasts and a ‘pie of the day’ menu for families who fancy stopping by for some food while having a chat over a pint.

Mother-of-three Vicki said: ‘It’s looking a lot better, but it hasn’t lost its backstreet pub feel.

‘When I spoke to the brewery, I said I didn’t want it to be modernised and turned into a bistro or wine bar.

‘Plus I’ve kept the original ceiling, which not everyone is stuck on.

‘But the pub needed to keep in line with others in the area, and we didn’t want people walking past to say, “I don’t want to be in there, it’s drab and dull”.

‘So something had to be done.

‘All the regulars love it – I haven’t had any complaints so far.’

The pub was closed for 10 days and reopened ready for trade on November 17.

Vicki said: ‘The pub has definitely got a strong future.

‘We have had more people come in since the reopening.

‘Some come in for a nose, and some have heard from other people about the changes.

‘And hopefully, it will mean more people coming in on a regular basis.’

The pub serves up two real ales – an IPA and a seasonal variety.

A quiz night is held on Wednesdays from 8.30pm.

Vicki keeps guests entertained by throwing in bingo half way through.

And a tasty selection of food is dished up for participants; including a stew, a curry, sandwiches, chips, sausage rolls, pizza and buffet food.

Darts matches are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a meat raffle is held on Sunday and live entertainment is put on for guests on Saturday nights.

And the pub is already gearing up for Christmas – with a Christmas draw on December 18.

Plus the pub is expected to be packed out on Christmas Day from midday to 2pm.

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