‘With us you get quality’: Southsea pub owners reveal how they pulled business back from the brink

TWO pals have teamed up to bring their passions for sport and food to a Southsea pub. 

Andy Hobbs, 25, and Sean Barnes, 24, both from Leigh Park, took over the Eldon Arms in Eldon Street, Southsea, in March. 

The Eldon Arms pub in Eldon Street, Southsea. Pictured is: (l-r) Directors at the Eldon Arms Andy Hobbs and Sean Barnes

The duo, who have been friends for years, have breathed new life into the pub, which is owned by EI. 

Andy said: ‘With us you get quality. The regulars love the fact that we are trying to make the pub better. 

‘We wanted to do more than just plateau. Too many pubs go down the toilet as there’s not much effort put into them, and nobody putting in the work to make them unique. 

‘We want to be a place that people come into Portsmouth to go to.’ 

The Eldon Arms pub in Eldon Street, Southsea.

The historic venue’s future hung in the balance at the end of 2016 after a previous landlord disappeared overnight. 

A group of regulars formed a community group and launched a bid to save the pub and turn it into an Asset of Community Value, giving it protected status, which failed. 

EI, formerly known as Enterprise Inns, held on to the pub and invested thousands into it, bringing in an interior designer to give the place an overhaul, before the pals got behind the bar and the place reopened. 

Now six months in, Andy and Sean say they are proud to see the place busy and that business is on the up. 

The Eldon Arms pub in Eldon Street, Southsea.

They have seen great success with their food, using Andy’s 10 years of experience as a chef to create special dishes. 

Andy said: ‘It all comes down to the finer details, it does not have to look pretty to be good food. Everything we serve is well-sourced and home-made —  and you can taste that.’  

Sean, who was a teacher before turning his hand to the pub trade, is a keen sports fan and he has introduced a wide range of sports to the pub. 

Andy said: ‘It is a lovely place. It has a great atmosphere for sports but it is also a really nice place to go into with your family for a meal.’ 

The pub has six ales on tap – four regulars of Doombar, Proper Job, Tribute and Hog’s Back Tea plus two guest ales. 

It employs four staff andalso serves craft beers. Andy says they’re looking at bringing in more gin and rum to meet  demand. 

Quiz nights are in the pipeline, and the team are busy planning Christmas, with customers already making bookings. 

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