When Spencer Rogers took over The Shepherd’s Crook, he knew he had a challenge on his hands.
The walls inside the bar needed repainting, the toilets required a complete refurbishment and the broken televisions had to be thrown away.
But Mr Rogers, 38, took on the work, vowing to turn around the pub’s fortunes.
Now, two months later, the landlord says he feels the pub, at the junction of Goldsmith Avenue and Winter Road in Southsea, is a real family-friendly venue.
‘I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task,’ Mr Rogers said.
‘I felt that the pub didn’t have any love or passion in it when I arrived.’
‘It’s fair to say it’s nearly broken my back getting the place all cleaned up.
‘But I’ve never wanted an easy life and the place is looking great now considering it was a blank canvas.
‘The locals love what has been done to it.
‘I really believed I could turn things around, and thankfully I have.
‘By doing something small like refurbishing the toilets it’s made a huge difference.
‘The partners of the men who come in don’t go home to use their own bathrooms any more.
‘It’s nice to see more women and families using the pub now.’
The landlord’s handywork at the pub hasn’t finished yet.
He wants to spruce up the beer garden and put in hanging baskets in time for the summer.
A quiz night and a weekly meat raffle have also been introduced at the pub, which was built in the early 1900s, and is well-known to Pompey fans because it is close to Fratton Park.
Locals will explore the possibility of life after death with local medium Paul Cissel on Tuesday, March 13.
‘I feel the place is heading in the right direction now,’ he said.
‘I wanted to do an evening with a medium because it’s something a bit different.
‘In this day and age you have to think outside the box.
‘That’s how you survive in the pub industry now.’
Mr Rogers also plans to introduce live music and do events for charity.
He is looking to get a ladies’ darts team together.
‘I can see big things for this pub this year,’ Mr Rogers said.
‘The atmosphere is fantastic and really intimate.
‘Everyone welcomed me in with open arms.’