When we started the Love Your Local campaign, it was to highlight the quality of pubs in our area.
With the industry facing threats on all sides, from cheap deals on supermarket booze, to increases in government taxation, changes in licensing laws, and the myriad other attractions vying for the dwindling cash in the public’s pockets, we at The News wanted to back the best of our local pubs.
Things have been tough enough for the big boys, with major chains closing numerous pubs across the country.
And in a report last year, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) revealed that in the UK 18 pubs were closing every week – up from 12 a week the previous year.
So it is good to see that one of the city’s favourite watering holes has been honoured as Pub of the Year by The Portsmouth and South East Hampshire branch of CAMRA.
The Hole in the Wall in Great South Street, Southsea, has now taken the title in back-to-back wins, with two other previous wins in 2007 and 2009.
That it has won four times in seven years is testament to the hard work that has gone into the pub by owners John and Kerry Mckerracher and their staff.
Previously a wine bar, it was converted into a traditional-style pub in the late 90s. With its focus on locally-brewed real ales and ciders, there is a noticeable lack of recorded music and gaming machines.
CAMRA also singled out its snug for particular praise - a rare feature in a pub these days.
If you haven’t been to a pub in a while because you think they’re all full of loud music and big-screen TVs, pay them a visit.
The pub has now been put forward for the Pub of the Year for the wider Wessex and Channel Islands region of CAMRA. Let’s raise a pint to them and wish them luck – they’d be worthy winners.