Pub wins best in area honour for fourth year

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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AN EVER-CHANGING stock of beers and a growing number of customers are the reasons for the Hole in the Wall’s success as a pub.

That’s how landlord Jonathan McKerracher, 43, explains why the pub has been named the best in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire.

The pub in Great Southsea Street, Southsea, Portsmouth, has been given the accolade for a fourth year by the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale.

Jonathan said the calibre of the competition in the area is improving and that is why he is so pleased that he and wife Kerry, 40, have won.

He said: ‘It’s the different range of weird and wonderful cask beers that we can get in.

‘We’re a proper free house – we’re not tied to any brewery.

‘We source beers from around the country and put them on for the discerning customer.

‘We have a lot of regulars. We’re very much a locals’ pub to be honest. We get a let of CAMRA members – they’re not all beards and sandals.

‘We get a lot of people visiting – beer tourists.’

The pub won the honour in 2007, 2009 and last year.

Jonathan said the only drink the pub stocks regularly is the Hole Hearted – which is named after the pub – made by Gosport-based Oakleaf Brewery.

Nigel Firth-Penney is from the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire branch of CAMRA, which gave the award. He said since the pub was converted from a wine bar in the mid-1990s it has risen to the top in the area.

He said: ‘It has quickly established itself as one of the top pubs.

‘This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of the pub’s owners and their staff in creating a true community local.

‘The quality and range of the real ales they sell is superb, the pub has always supported traditional cider and it serves excellent quality and reasonably-priced food.

‘There’s no recorded music or games machines to detract from the art of conversation and it’s even got a snug, which is a pretty rare feature in any pub these days.’

The Jim Fox Memorial Trophy will be given to Jonathan and Kerry at 4pm on Monday at the pub.