Southsea pub boss overwhelmed to reopen to punters after lockdown heartache

PUNTERS packed into a beloved Portsmouth pub for the first time in months, leaving the boozer’s boss overwhelmed.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 6:43 pm
Colin Stanhope, Teejay Hunt, Adam Turland, Steve Hannigan and Dave Crawford from Easy Access Scaffolding enjoying an after-work pint at The King Street Tavern. Picture: Mike Cooter (170521)

Tables were booked up well in advance at Southsea’s King Street Tavern as the buzz of having customers enjoying food and drink returned.

The award-winning King Street establishment was one of thousands of businesses nationwide allowed to open its doors to the public once again, as lockdown measures were eased.

And it was a moment the tavern’s boss, Sean Marshall was thrilled had finally arrived.

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King Street Tavern landlords Paul Mulholland and Sean Marshall happy to open their doors once more. Picture: Mike Cooter

Speaking to The News ahead of the pub’s reopening, he said: ‘It’s really, really exciting. It’s honestly been a tough year.

‘We have been really lucky with the support from the locals. We’ve got a loyal following and we have been able to keep things ticking over with our takeaways.

‘But not everyone has been so lucky, it’s been heartbreaking to see those businesses that haven’t been able to survive.’

Sean, who is marking his sixth year in charge of the Southsea boozer next month, said he was hopeful of a boom in trade – and a brighter future.

Neil Hitch enjoying a pint at The King Street Tavern. Picture: Mike Cooter (170521)

The publican aims to launch a new venture in the form of a new, world beer lounge, which he hopes will be able to open from next month.

Sean added: ‘We’re now looking at a great future. It seems like a sunny day and like the grey clouds have finally lifted.’

Customers are urged to book in advance for food at the tavern or if arriving in groups.

Although Sean insisted the pub was open to everyone, including the casual punter keen to pop in for a quick pint or two.

He added: ‘To see the industry to be able to open its doors and invite people back is amazing. There’s still an element of uncertainty and it will take people a little bit of time to get used to things.

‘We just hope everyone sees this for what it is, embraces it and behaves in a safe manner so we don't have to face another lockdown again.’