Love Your Local: The Fountain, North End

The Fountain sports bar
The Fountain sports bar
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It has been through tough times, but now a city pub is thriving again after being given a new lease of life.

Around £130,000 has been spent turning the former Fountain pub, in London Road, North End, Portsmouth, into The Fountain Sports Bar.

The venue has been completely refurbished and given a fresh, modern look.

Sport memorabilia and pictures hang all over the walls and help to emphasise the venue’s love for activities all over the world.

Six plasma TV screens now cover the walls and there are an additional nine screens that have been put together to make one large one.

The owners say there’s nothing like that in the area and £28,000 was spent creating the set-up.

By the end of this week, visitors will be able to watch three major sporting events at once.

Lorraine Murphy was the interior designer behind the pub’s transformation.

She said: ‘The pub was starting to look very old.

‘It’s had a £130,000 refurbishment, it’s been completely changed.

‘It’s still got elements of a traditional pub, but we wanted to bring it up to the modern day.

‘The original lighting and stained glass windows have been kept.

‘Portsmouth didn’t have a great sports bar, and this has really taken off.

‘It’s got something for everybody here and the locals love it.’

The pub reopened in time for the World Cup and a ribbon was cut at the entrance by former Pompey goalkeeper Alan Knight. The launch party was held earlier this month.

James Forrest, 30, is the pub’s manager.

‘I had never been here before, but I’m a massive sports fan so I jumped at the opportunity to come here,’ he said.

‘I love the atmosphere of the place and some of the best nights of my life have been when watching sporting events. There is so much potential here in terms of what it can offer.

‘It’s just a case of getting its name out there.’

The beer garden has been spruced up and the function room has been improved so it can be enjoyed by sport fans. A new menu is due to be introduced soon and there’s a range of burgers available.

The lease of the pub was taken over by Gary Deeks, owner of DW Leisure, earlier this year. Work has also been done to improve the outside of the pub by owners Enterprise Inns.

ACTIVE pub manager James Forrest enjoys keeping fit when he’s not working behind the bar.

He plays five-a-side football and gets stuck into a few games of tennis when he’s not busy keeping a steady ship at The Fountain Sports Bar.

While it is the first time the Southsea resident has run a pub, he has helped out in bars since he was 16 and been involved in the hotel and restaurant trade.

Speaking of why he loves his job, James said: ‘I enjoy meeting all sorts of people.

‘It’s a fine place to work, no day is the same and I like the challenge.

‘Compared to the rest of the pubs in North End, we offer something a bit different.

‘It’s modern, fresh and it’s just what North End really needed.

‘Everyone has been impressed so far.’

James said there are a range of plans and ideas being looked at for the future.

Themed dinner nights could be set up and the pub is hoping to forge connections with Pompey.

It also wants to hold events whenever there are major sporting occasions such as The Super Bowl.

Live entertainment is held on Fridays and Saturdays and from September 7, former Pompey player Vince Hilaire will be the pub’s resident DJ on a Sunday.

On his opening night a barbecue will be held and there will be live coverage of Pompey’s televised away match against Burton Albion.

‘The only way is up for us,’ James said.

‘It’s just a case of continuing to raise our profile and getting even more people down here.’