Cheers! Portsmouth sunshine leads to happy drinkers for first weekend back at pubs

GLORIOUS sunshine made this weekend's pints taste even sweeter – or so say the city's punters.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 5:38 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th April 2021, 6:32 pm

Customers flocked to Portsmouth's pubs, bars and restaurants in their thousands this weekend, after lockdown restrictions were eased on April 12.

Now that outdoor dining and non-essential shopping is permitted, people have been making the most of the spring weather.

Ruth O'Shoughnessy, from Gosport, had joined members of her family at The Jolly Sailor in Clarence Parade, Southsea.

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From left, Ruth O'Shoughnessy, Caragh O'Shoughnessy, Joseph Brawn, Stuart Callaghan and Liam O'Shoughnessy, plus Reggie the dog. Picture: David George

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She said: 'We haven't seen each other since before Christmas, so that was the important thing to us.

'Its been lovely weather as well – there was no better weekend for the pubs to be open again.'

Also at The Jolly Sailor was a man who did not wish to be named, out of fear of his wife.

From left, Scott Samuel, 35, Paul Edwards, 45 and Mark Woodroofe, 37. Picture: David George

He said: 'It feels like I've barely left the pub, to be honest.

'I've been here all day and was here yesterday evening too; it's a good place to be and I'm keen to help support a local business. When the casinos open I'll be supporting those too.'

For Ross Barbero, from London, his pint of Fosters was the first he had drunk since the pubs closed in December.

Gus Barbero, 50, with Ross Barbero, 24. Picture: David George

The 24-year-old said: 'This is the first drink I've had in months – but its going down dangerously easy.

'I think its the warm weather, but it just feels like the perfect day to be out.'

For Peter Harbert and Mike Caldwell, their pint outside The Lord Palmerston in Palmerston Road was the first time they had seen each other in more than a year.

Peter, 56, from Portsmouth, said: 'I'm on my second pint already – it tastes so much better when it comes from a tap instead of a can.

Friends enjoying a pint at the Jolly Sailor, Southsea on Friday Picture: Habibur Rahman

'We've known each other for 10 years so not seeing one another since March last year has been tough.'

Also at the Wetherspoon pub were friends Scott Samuel, Paul Edwards and Mark Woodroffe.

Paul said: ‘It’s the first time we’ve been together as a group in months – we all play for a pool team together so aren’t used to spending so much time apart.

‘It’s been really nice.’

Saturday’s sunshine was a far cry from Monday’s bitterly cold early snow showers.

Ladies of the Red Hat Society, The Scarlett OHaras Chapter of Portsmouth and Southsea, were given hot water bottles to keep them warm during their first meet up at the Kings Pub in Albert Road earlier this week.

Jean Strangeway, Irene Strange, Margaret Waitland, Freya Perry, Sally Isted meeting outside the Kings Pub in Albert Road, Southsea

Irene Strange said: ‘On this very cold windy day the landlord greeted us with purple hot water bottles and hot coffee as we arrived for drinks and pizza.

‘With masks at the ready and having received two doses of the jab, we met together for the first time after a year of Isolation and lockdown.’

The ladies were meeting to celebrate Irene’s 88th birthday.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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