Ale lovers have scored a victory after a city pub was saved thanks to a local brewer.
The News first revealed how plans were being put together by The Oakleaf Brewing Company of Gosport to take on the lease of The Florist in Portsmouth.
This is a great opportunity for a small brewer to showcase more of its beers and other local products as well.Martyn Constable, Oakleaf sales representative
Now the deal has officially been signed off with property owner Chris Hunt – and the Fratton pub is finally looking forward to a bright future after a rough few years.
And it’s a boost to the local area as it brings another pub back into use at the St Mary’s Church end of Fratton Road.
Oakleaf is also now the only local brewery in the area to operate a pub.
Recently the nearby former Contented Pig – famous in its heyday for its great live music – was lost forever after it was bulldozed.
Flats are now being put up in its place.
In charge of the pumps at The Florist now is Martyn Constable, Oakleaf sales representative and experienced publican.
He’s making it his mission to transform the local into a thriving hub for real ale and craft beer fans.
There won’t be any live music or entertainment – so punters can expect to enjoy a good chat over a pint.
Martyn said: ‘I’m delighted the deal has now gone through.
‘We’re getting it off the ground and want to run it as a traditional-style pub, with no music, no karaoke or drink out of a bottle.
‘Providing there’s enough people who will want that sort of thing in this area, it will be a success.
‘This is a great opportunity for a small brewer to showcase more of its beers and other local products as well.
‘It’s a chance to show people what’s at the smaller end of the market, as opposed to the national branded stuff which you can get anywhere.
‘I am very excited to see how things go.
‘It’s just going to take a lot of hard work convincing people this is what they want.
‘There are pubs similar to this in the city, just not in this area of Fratton.’
The pub celebrated its re-launch night on Tuesday this week as customers and publicans gathered to enjoy its new look.
The inside has been freshened up and five beer pumps are on the go.
But that will be extended to six soon as the venue presses on with its focus selling local, regional and foreign drink varieties. Martyn said: ‘It’s going to be quiet with no music, but it will be the beer that people will come in for.’
According to the portsmouthpubs.org.uk website, the pub was named after a flower nursery that once existed nearby.