Portsmouth Wetherspoon venue celebrates 20th year in business

Staff at The Isambard Kingdom Brunel, in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, celebrate the pub's 20th anniversary
Staff at The Isambard Kingdom Brunel, in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, celebrate the pub's 20th anniversary

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It’s played a major part in helping to raise millions of pounds for charity.

Now The Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a Wetherspoon pub in the heart of Portsmouth, is celebrating its 20th year in business.

The hostelry – named after the illustrious Portsmouth-born engineer – marked the occasion with charity competitions, food and drink, games and a bake sale, which raised cash for charities CLIC Sargent and smaller charity Pura.

Staff also dressed in special ‘Happy Birthday IKB’ T-shirts to show their appreciation.

IKB as well as other Wetherspoon venues in the region have managed to raise £11m to date for charity CLIC Sargent.

Pub manager Anthony Jobe said there was a decent turnout for the anniversary celebrations.

He has worked with Wetherspoon for six-and-a-half years and has managed IKB for the past two years.

Explaining how he felt local pubs were important to communities, he said: ‘Personally, I think they’re very important.

‘As a pub-goer, I frequently use local pubs and I think that they’re important.

‘What’s strange is people’s perceptions that big businesses are putting little pubs out of business, but that’s not the case at all.’

Being located opposite the University of Portsmouth campus, the pub pulls in a lot of trade from students and this hasn’t changed much over the years, unlike the food section in the pub.

Anthony said: ‘Food trade has come a long way in the past five years.’

He added that food takings had gone from 20 per cent to 50 per cent in recent years.

The drinks served at the pub have also changed as the industry has developed, with the new craze being craft beers.

IKB now serves between 20 and 25 craft bottled beers as well as two on tap. Anthony is looking at introducing five more in the future.

Plus there’s a healthy selection of real ales for beer lovers who prefer a traditional cask pint.

And the pub serves local ales from microbreweries.

Anthony said: ‘I try to use microbreweries like Goddards on the Isle of Wight and breweries in Gosport and Irving here in Portsmouth.

He said: ‘Obviously the decor has changed a bit, as time goes on things start to change like the carpet and paint.’

The pub also enjoys taking part in Wetherspoon-backed international beer festivals that take place each year.

Brews are often sourced from as far afield as New Zealand, USA, Holland, Australia, Belgium and Italy.