A popular Southsea pub is welcoming back regulars and meeting new faces following a grand reopening – after undergoing a six-figure refurbishment.
The Bold Forester, in Albert Road, had been without any refurbishment work for over six years.
Manager Josh Fry said: ‘Work was definitely needed. The refurbishment has made a massive difference. We have seen sales go through the roof. It’s been a big improvement.’
The investment comes from owner Greene King, a pub and restaurant chain that runs more than 2,900 pubs, restaurants, and hotels across the UK.
The Bold Forester was closed for over a week to allow the work to take place.
A grand reopening night last week saw the popular boozer packed full of people, as Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Lee Mason wielded the scissors in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Cllr Mason also found himself behind the bar to pull a few pints.
‘It was an interesting evening reopening the Bold Forester,’ he said.
‘It looks fantastic inside and the menu is great. I wish Josh the very best luck with the pub, and I know he will be kept busy with his lively customers.’
The refurbishment has seen a new expanded area for people to eat outside, new furniture, and an enhanced range of drinks – with more cask beers and spirits. The venue is currently serving 6X from Wadworth brewery, and Abbot Ale, Old Speckled Hen, and Greene King IPA.
Josh said: ‘It’s great because whenever you alter things there can be a few people who preferred it the way it was before. But actually I’ve not heard one bad thing.’
Regulars were happy to be back propping up the bar.
Terry McGowan, 61, said: ‘The work has been a massive improvement.
‘The pub was okay before, but it needed tidying up – now it’s had more than a tidy up.’
Susan Taylor, 55, said: ‘We’ve been locals for 15 months. The pub was alright before. Now it has a beautiful garden. And the staff here are brilliant.’
The pub has a busy calendar of events including: darts and poker on Tuesdays, a pub quiz on Wednesdays, karaoke on a Thursday and DJs and bands on a Friday and Saturday night.
The Bold Forester, which now has nine staff, has been a public house since 1871.
Josh said: ‘We’re all proud to be running this well-loved pub.’