Fareham pub crowned the area’s best boozer for second year running

FOR pub landlord Neil Matthews everything is about giving the customers what they want and after clinching The News's Pub of the Year award for the second year running he is a man to be listened to.

Monday, 28th January 2019, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:29 pm
The Delme Arms in Fareham, has won The News, Portsmouth competition for Pub of the Year. Pictured is: (middle) Landlord Neil Matthews with Lou Fuller and head chef Adrian Leslie with their award that they won last year and this year. Picture: Sarah Standing (250119-7263)

Neil has run The Delme Arms in Fareham for more than four and a half years and along with three other partners has helped restore it to its glory days.

He said: 'This has been a community pub for more than 200 years and when I moved to the area in 1978 and it was a great pub but it had been run down into the ground.

'When we got our hands on it we gave it a revamp and I wanted to make sure my child of eight could come along and so could my parents who were 80. If I did that then I would have a pub with a diverse customer base and something for everyone.'

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The Delme Arms in Fareham, has won The News, Portsmouth competition for Pub of the Year. Pictured is: (middle) Landlord Neil Matthews with Lou Fuller and head chef Adrian Leslie with their award that they won last year and this year. Picture: Sarah Standing (250119-7263)

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Neil believes part of his success lies in the kitchen with head chef Adrian Leslie.

Neil said: 'I truly have the best chef in the region and I have people come from further afield to try his food. During the day our customers are the retired and we are always busy at lunchtime. They always tell me how great the food is and it is something we pride ourselves on.'

When it comes to his evening trade he has a loyal group of regulars who enjoy his beers and ales.

He said: 'The regulars are great and I know they will be here to support me but we also get people finishing work and those catching up with friends and as I said having a diverse group of customers is really important to keep a pub going.'

With the restaurant and pub trade suffering of late, Neil says is even more determined to succeed.

He told The News: ‘It is a hard time for everyone but we are always striving to be better and give our customers what they want.

'We have our beer festival every year which is popular and we are also planning to revamp the restaurant bit and give it new lighting and furniture.'

Now he hopes to add a third trophy to his growing collection.

Neil added: 'To win for a second year running is absolutely amazing and is testament to our great customers, good food and lovely atmosphere. I definitely hope to win a third next year.'

The Eldon Arms in Southsea, which reopened in March last year, was the runner-up with The Lady Hamilton, Portsmouth, taking third place.