Regulars are thrilled as Chrissie rings the changes at Salisbury from hard drinking den to safe family location

PUB REGULARS From left Carianne Davison, Brian Davison, Steve Pinestone, and Chris Stoner.     Picture: Malcolm Wells (112400-3630)
PUB REGULARS From left Carianne Davison, Brian Davison, Steve Pinestone, and Chris Stoner. Picture: Malcolm Wells (112400-3630)
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There aren’t many pubs that still boast a traditional skittle alley, but the 1930s-built Salisbury Hotel is one.

And the garden attraction is not the only feature landlady Chrissie Bullard has restored since taking over the pub in Lonsdale Avenue, Cosham, just over two years ago.

During the dramatic turnaround she uncovered two stunning log-burning fireplaces, refurbished a children’s play area outside, installed a UV-protected smoking shelter and completely transformed the pub’s two bars.

And now there’s even a pet rabbit, Poppet, outside in the sunny beer garden.

Chrissie, 40, said: ‘The pub was really shabby when I took over. There were no tables and just a big pool table in the middle of the public bar with benches all around the sides.

‘I wanted to turn it into a family-friendly pub where people could bring their children and enjoy a drink knowing they were in a safe area.

‘It’s a totally different place now from what it was before and all the regulars are really nice.

‘They tend to leave things for other people to pick up here, or borrow things from me, like a strimmer, but I think that’s what a local pub is all about – we’re like their extended family.’

The pub itself is split into two connected bars, one of which is often rented out for functions for everything from weddings and birthday parties to funerals.

Regular Margorie Smale, of Edgerly Gardens, Cosham, had her 80th birthday party there last month.

She said: ‘It was really lovely. Chrissie had decorated it and even put up a banner over the front door saying happy 80th birthday – I couldn’t believe it.

‘I’m a pianist and my grandson brought a keyboard for me to play alongside a flute player and two singers, and he played the guitar and sang too.

‘The ambience was great and that’s one of the things I love about here.’

After restoring the pub and its seven bedrooms, Chrissie decided to rent out four of the rooms as bed and breakfast accommodation.

And her hard work has not gone unnoticed by her punters.

Brian Davison, 42, and his wife Carianne, 38, of Hilary Avenue, Cosham, have been drinking in the Salisbury for 15 years.

Brian said: ‘There’s been a huge difference since Chrissie took it over. We stopped coming here for a while because it was rough and very unpredictable, but it’s really nice now.

‘The people that come here are lovely. We’ve made some really good friends in here over the years.’