The nights are getting colder – but residents are still packing pubs

Landlord of The Sir Loin of Beef - Paul Jevons
Landlord of The Sir Loin of Beef - Paul Jevons

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As the nights draw in, many people enjoy wrapping up in the warm at home.

But at the same time, there’s a big crowd who see the colder months as a great opportunity to visit the local for a few beers and chat with friends.

Many local pubs say this is their best time of year as punters come to enjoy a drink in a cosy setting while its cold and dark outside.

Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern, in Albert Road, Southsea, said takings are 20 per cent better outside of summer.

‘As soon as the clocks go back, it’s always better,’ he said.

‘For me takings are better now than they are in the summer.

‘When the sun is out, people go to the seafront and the big bars in Gunwharf, then when the sun goes back in they go back to their local pub.

‘The last 12 years I have been here, the quieter months always seem to be June, July and August.’

The Delme Arms, in Cams Hill, Fareham, have got two log fires raring to go, and it’s hoped they will prove a winner with locals who pop by for shelter.

Landlord Neil Matthews said: ‘We’ve got two log fires and when you walk into a pub environment with that, it’s quite attractive and it’s quite cosy and homely. I am expecting that to have a positive impact currently up to December.’

Paul Jevons, landlord of The Sir Loin of Beef, in Highland Road, Eastney, said it was important locals backed their pub all year round.

‘It’s a hub of the community,’ he said.

‘It’s the cosiness and the atmosphere that attracts people during the winter.

‘We get an increase in trade this time of year then it dies off just before you get to Christmas, because families have spent their wages on Christmas presents.’

But Paul Saynor, landlord of The Rose in June, in Milton Road, Copnor, said beer trends shift and drinkers opt for darker beers.

‘The dark, malty ales are drunk more than the hoppy beers of the summer, and quite often we notice a strong shift from lager to darker beers,’ he said.

Deana Geary, landlady of The Junction Tavern, in Leesland Road, Gosport, said there’s a bigger variety of beers in the autumn and winter and drinkers are attracted by that.

‘This time of year, we get the dark ales, stouts and porters and people like that.

‘There’s more of an opportunity to get them in for the customers as most breweries only make them in the winter.’

Veteran landlady Sue Lampon says her ‘winter pub’ goes down a storm with punters when the weather is cold and bleak.

That’s because she has a roaring coal fire and a hearty supply of real ale at the Queen’s Hotel, in Queen’s Road, Gosport, to keep everyone happy and warm.

‘We are not a summer pub, we never have been,’ said Sue.

‘We tend to get more people in the winter, they get fed up sitting indoors watching the television.

‘You always get a warm, friendly welcome here.’

Last weekend, the backstreet local held its annual beer festival, with all the beer once again being finished off by thirsty drinkers.

As reported, around 30 different brews were on offer from breweries all over the country and Gosport’s Oakleaf Brewing Company.

Twelve beers ran on stillages by the dart board and another six were rotated through the pumps.

Cider was also on offer at the popular event, which is in its 15th year.

Sue said: ‘It was very good, my customers came to support it yet again and all the beer had gone by the end.

‘People know we have a beer festival every year and they like the choice that we give them.’

Sue, pictured, is entering her 32nd year as the landlady of the Queen’s Hotel in November.

She said: ‘I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like doing it.

‘Running a pub becomes part of your life.

‘You have got to commit yourself and you’ve got to really want to do it.

‘The customers appreciate that.’