The Rutland Arms is more like community centre than a pub

Landlord and landlady Ross Russell and his wife Rachael Russell behind the bar.''Picture: Sarah Standing (123536-1193)
Landlord and landlady Ross Russell and his wife Rachael Russell behind the bar.''Picture: Sarah Standing (123536-1193)
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You can be assured of a warm welcome at The Rutland Arms.

Walking in through the doors of the back-street boozer, you soon discover that three generations of the same family work there.

Married couple Ross and Rachael Russell have been in charge of the pub, in Francis Avenue, Southsea, Portsmouth, for 16 months.

Rachael’s mum Margaret Russell, 55, helps out in the kitchen and her dad Dave, 57, does the DIY.

And if the pub’s garden needs tending to or the wooden stools ever need reupholstering then Rachael’s grandfather Johnstone Barr, 83, is there to help.

Though his wife Hannah, 82, finds it difficult to get around she always makes the customers feel welcome.

Ross, 30, said: ‘I’m quite lucky really because I have great in-laws.

‘Working with your family makes life a lot easier most of the time.

‘You get to know each other inside-out and everyone knows what is expected of them.

‘It’s very much a team effort.

‘I think people like the fact we’re a family-run pub.

‘They know we aren’t in it just for the money.’

Since taking over the pub the family have worked hard to keep it in tip-top shape.

They repainted the bar, fitted a new kitchen and gave the garden a makeover.

‘I think people have noticed we have done a lot since we came here,’ Ross said.

‘They wanted a community pub they could be proud of and that’s what we’ve given them.

‘We’re a traditional local that is here to serve the local people.’

The Rutland Arms was built as a hotel shortly before the turn of the 20th century and was designed in a Tudor style by architect Arthur Edward Cogswell.

On Mondays the pub holds a Family Fortunes-style quiz night and there’s a general knowledge test for locals on Wednesdays.

Visitors are treated to a meat raffle on Sundays.

Steve Richardson, 46, of Orchard Road, Southsea, has been a regular at the pub for more than 20 years.

Mr Richardson, who works as a heating and ventilation engineer, said: ‘It’s more like a community centre than a pub.

‘I’ve made some really great friends in there.

‘After a long day at work I can pop in there, have a beer, and I can guarantee that I can always find someone to talk to.

‘The staff are brilliant and they always want to listen to what you have to say.

‘The food is so popular and it’s a great place to go and watch Pompey play on a Saturday.’