Historic pub at Camber Dock 'comes out punching' from pandemic with £200,000 refurbishment as punters flock for fresh fish and famous roasts

A WATERFRONT pub steeped in history has ‘come out punching’ from the pandemic offering daily fresh fish caught nearby in the Solent and ‘famous roasts’ as punters flock to get a taste and enjoy a tipple.

By Steve Deeks
Thursday, 28th October 2021, 11:59 am

The Bridge Tavern, overlooking the ocean at the Camber Dock in East Street Old Portsmouth opposite the Wightlink Gunwharf terminal, has undergone a £200,000 refurbishment as it draws in the crowds.

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The ‘proper pub’ that seats up to 120 people both downstairs, upstairs and outside, has been repainted inside and out and now has a raft of new furniture along with decking around the back in a well-positioned sun trap spot out the wind.

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Love Your Local feature on The Bridge Tavern, Old Portsmouth. Lynn and Dave Reed pictured outside of the pub. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

A new entrance lobby is among the new changes while the upstairs has undergone a total revamp upstairs including new bifold doors and flooring.

The pub offers daily scallops, crab - including crab sandwiches - turbot and king prawns amongst a range of traditional dishes including roast dinners.

Speciality dinner nights such as Italian or Spanish nights also help to draw in the crowds with ‘bookings very busy’. Live music and themed occasions such as St George’s Day, Burns Night and St Patrick’s Day also add to the rich variety of entertainment offered by the pub.

A repainted mural of the famous 1811 satirical Portsmouth Point picture by Thomas Rowlandson has also now been completed.

Artist Mark Lewis and his daughter Jesma who painted a new mural on the side of the Bridge Tavern, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Stuart Martin (220421-7042)

Landlords Dave and Lynn Reed took over the Fullers pub three years ago after running the White Horse for seven years before.

Dave, 59, said: ‘We’ve come out the other side after lockdown punching with our refurbishment inside and outside.

‘It suits us both down to the ground. I love the sea and love to cook fresh fish so there is plenty of fresh fish on our menus and our roasts have become quite famous.

‘The punters love it and it gets very busy at times which is lovely. Since the last lockdown we’ve become increasingly busy.

‘We’re right on the Camber Dock and get some lovely sun here.’

Lynn said: ‘It was very shabby before. All the wood round the back on the decking was rotting away.

‘We’ve been very busy but it’s only been since July that people have been allowed together in large groups so it is ongoing what we are doing.

‘We’re very happy here and enjoying it. It’s such a great spot, you can’t beat it.’

Dave added: ‘We are the freshest place for fish in the whole of Portsmouth. We’ve had a total refurbishment of the mural which is on the end of the building - a very famous picture that is available to come and have a look at. We are on the picture.’

The humorous-action packed mural features some quirky additions including landlord Dave in an upstairs window embraced in a kiss.

Artist Mark Lewis spent six days in warm October sunshine repainting the famous mural on the back wall of the Tavern with help from his 16-year-old daughter Jesma Lewis.

The 53-year-old said: ‘The painting is a satirical look on society, hence all the prostitutes including the famous Pompey Lil.

‘The picture faded so we repainted over six days when we were very lucky with the weather.’

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