PORTSMOUTH’S oldest pub has been given a new lease of life thanks to a £150,000 facelift.
Earlier this year The Dolphin in High Street, Old Portsmouth, closed its doors when owners Enterprise Inns increased the rent, forcing former licensee Alex Karzakov out.
The work to transform it has been really well received. It’s got a bright future and I will certainly be coming backFlick Drummond, Portsmouth South MP
But now the historic site – which was opened in 1716 – is under new management and has a brighter future ahead of it.
The Dolphin has been spruced up both inside and out. And there is a revamped food and drink menu focusing on British products.
Dave Brown is the new boss and has 15 years’ experience in the hospitality industry.
He said: ‘It’s an honour to be running a pub with such a rich history.
‘The building dates back to 1716 and we’ve worked extremely hard to ensure all the renovations are sympathetic to its original features.
‘When I took over, I found a window frame in storage that is believed to have been signed by Horatio Nelson.
‘So, I’ve framed it and hung it centre stage in the pub – it’s a great talking point.’
In total, 14 new members of staff have been hired to help run the site.
The ribbon to officially open the pub was cut by Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond.
Mrs Drummond poured her first pint behind the bar under the watchful gaze of local punters.
She said: ‘This has always been a fantastic local pub that I have frequented.
‘The work to transform it has been really well received. It’s got a bright future and I will certainly be coming back.’
The launch night saw Dave presenting a cheque for £250 to Robyn Sargeant, a trustee of Friends of PICU.
The group supports the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Southampton General Hospital, which provides life-saving care to children from across the county.
Robyn said: ‘It’s just so amazing that we have got the support of a local business. It means so much to us. Hopefully this will be a link that will carry on.’
The pub is now part of the Bermondsey Pub Company chain.
Its new menu features British classics like fish and chips, as well as bar snacks, craft beers and real ales.
It is open seven days a week.