The owners of new craft beer and ale pub have opened to the public and say they are proud to be bringing something new to the high street.
Located at the far end of Albert Road in Southsea, The Merchant House is away from the hustle and bustle of the Kings Theatre and a cluster of other bars and eateries.
The team behind The Merchant House have been hard at work over the past few months, gutting and re-decorating the former Ice Bar as a relaxed, welcoming pub which serves a variety of local beers, ales and stouts.
The owners are no strangers to the industry.
Ben Miles, Andy Marsh and Amanda Ainsworth are well-known in the city.
Ben and Andy managed Little Johnny Russells for more than 10 years and, with business partner James Ralls, created Victorious Festival.
Running the bar is Ollie Arlsford, an experienced manager and beer expert.
Ben said: ‘We spent such a long time getting the place ready and we’re really happy with how it looks.
‘We learnt a lot from our time at Little Johnny Russells but it feels great to run our own, independent place and turn a passion of ours into something tangible.
‘We opened on Tuesday and the place was absolutely packed out.
‘We’ve had lots of people wanting to show us support and get behind our idea, which is great.’
The team at The Merchant House are planning to focus on local drink, showcasing the best of local breweries with a few international options.
Ben added: ‘We want to show off the amazing beers and ales on offer in our region along with the staple spirits such as gin, rum, etc.’
In March, the kitchen will open under the command of local entrepreneur Pete Hunt.
Pete runs Feed Hot Dog Company, which is soon to expand and undergo a name change.
The charity hot dog vendor will take over the kitchen as ‘Need Street Food’, offering a wide variety of tasty treats and saving the lives of children in the process.
Ben added: ‘It’s great to see this quieter end of the high street filling up with independent businesses and we’re proud to be a part of it.’