Top real ale and sunflowers at Barley Mow

102887-231 (MP) SS 14/9/2010''Judith Burr (42) landlady of The Barley Mow in Castle Road, Southsea''Picture: Sarah Standing (102887-231)

102887-231 (MP) SS 14/9/2010''Judith Burr (42) landlady of The Barley Mow in Castle Road, Southsea''Picture: Sarah Standing (102887-231)

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FANCY meeting the love of your life, joining a Pagan group or entering a radish growing competition?

Because you can do all those things at the quirky Barley Mow pub in Southsea.

The 90-year-old watering hole in Castle Road, Southsea, reflects the very individual personality of landlady Judith Burr, who makes sure there is always something fun for guests to enjoy, alongside the award-winning real ales.

Customer Bridgette Imber took a bit of persuading to step foot in the pub as she always believed it was a bit fuddy-duddy and wouldn’t be to her taste. But 30 years later she’s still going there.

Ms Imber says the company, the atmosphere and the real ales are unrivalled in the city.

‘I thought the pub only had a sports bar and was reluctant to come in. Since then I discovered the lounge bar and I’ve found a whole new way of life,’ said Miss Imber. ‘Now I come back to the open mic nights and the jazz on Sundays.

‘The place has a lovely feel to it. The landlady is absolutely wonderful, the bar staff are brilliant.

‘The beers may be a bit more expensive than most but they have got a fantastic range of real ales – they are exceptional.’

The pub garden is teeming with flowers and plants, helping it to win first place in the Portsmouth in Bloom pub category for the past three years.

At the moment there is a sunflower growing competition and customers are encouraged to be creative by holding Easter bonnet parades, fancy dress parties – with Halloween a real favourite among the punters – and also Burns’ Night celebrations.

Judith holds tomato and radish growing competitions with the money raised going to charity. And the pub is thought to be the only one in the city which sells fresh eggs with the pints.

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