REGULARS at Southsea’s Leopold Tavern are toasting its success after it was named Portsmouth’s best real ale pub for the second year in a row.
The popular pub in Albert Road was given the accolade by the city’s branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.
The club’s 760 members voted it their favourite place in south-east Hampshire to enjoy a tipple.
It’s a double success because it’s the first time in the 41 years of the competition that a pub in Portsmouth has won the title two years in a row.
Landlord Stuart Ainsworth, 41, runs the Leopold with the help of his wife Mandy, 39.
He said: ‘I was very surprised when I heard the good news – I was surprised to win the first time round never mind two years on the trot. It’s a great feeling.
‘It’s an award for the customers really because quite a few of them are members of Camra and it’s great to know that they like coming here and enjoy the beer we sell. The pub is special to me, it’s a lifestyle rather than a job and it gives me a great sense of pride to know that my customers think it’s special too.’
This is the first time a Portsmouth pub has been allowed to win the competition two years in a row as the rules of the competition were changed by the area’s Camra branch last year.
One if the regulars, Brian Anthony, 72, of Boulton Road, Southsea, said: ‘It’s good that it’s won again. It deserves it because it’s a nice place.
‘The staff and the people that drink here are all very nice, it’s clean and the beer is really good.’
The Leopold will now go through to a round of regional heats where a judging panel will visit the pub to assess its quality of beer, atmosphere, decor and customer service.
The winning pub from the regional round will go on to a larger regional heat for the chance to compete in the nationals in a bid to be crowned the best pub in Britain.
Geoff Marsh, chairman of Portsmouth CAMRA, said: ‘There were various ways to vote this year, and it was close, but the Leopold was the definite winner.
‘The fact that it’s won two years in a row shows that it’s in tune with its customers. The Leopold is friendly, there’s a good crowd that go there and it sells good beer which is the most important thing.
‘Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good pub but we all want to enjoy a nice pint while we are there.’
The winner of the regional heats will be announced later this year. See camra.org.uk