Southsea pub enjoys surge in business thanks to events such as the America’s Cup

Jolly Sailor landlord Ross McInally
Jolly Sailor landlord Ross McInally
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A Southsea pub is riding a wave of momentum on the back of major events which have pulled in big crowds.

The Jolly Sailor says it’s thriving because occasions such as the America’s Cup World Series and live music held at The Bandstand have attracted more visitors.

And that’s meant more people coming in for a pint and to enjoy what the venue has to offer.

Landlord Ross McInally said: ‘The America’s Cup was phenomenal.

‘All of the rooms were occupied and the pub was packed all day from doors opening to closing.

‘Anything that helps bring people to Portsmouth and makes the place busier is great for local businesses.

The America’s Cup brought more than 130,000 spectators to Portsmouth and, despite controversy surrounding litter dumped around 
The Bandstand, concerts there have also provided an added boost to the economy.

Mr McInally said: ‘Something like 10,000 turned up and it felt like 11,000 came to my pub afterwards!’

The Jolly Sailor is a family­owned business, and serves a range of ales and spirits, alongside gourmet food sourced from local suppliers.

Landlord Mr McInally has owned the pub on lease since 2009.

He said: ‘When the property development market crashed, I was talked into buying this place. After initially thinking it was a terrible thing to do, I’m happy I stuck with it.’

Originally a sprawling Victorian house, The Jolly Sailor was converted into a pub sometime between 1881 and the Second World War.

In 1954, RAF war hero Nobby Streeter bought the pub, which was previously called The Westfield.

When he took on the venture, he reportedly felt that it didn’t look like a pub at all, and subsequently changed the name to The Jolly Sailor.

‘It’s a fantastic old building. It requires huge amounts of maintenance, love and money to keep it going.’ said Mr McInally.

The owner is also keen on providing a friendly atmosphere. He added: ‘We offer a a very high standard of live music, we don’t stand a single singer in the corner with a guitar and bother customers. Instead we have real bands with wow factors attached to them on Saturday nights, and other entertainment on Fridays and Sundays.’

Mr McInally has a 15-year-old daughter – and has discussed the possibility of her taking on the pub one day.

He joked: ‘Nothing fills her with more dread! There’s plenty of life left in me, so we’ll worry about that later.’