Having a local independent hangout that offers really good food, the best vibes, and takes time out to support other independents and creatives is sometimes hard to achieve but Croxton’s does this with such ease. I love how this place on Palmerston Road is always busy whether that be in the week or on wknds, and I also love how they have created a whole new hatch so you can grab well-made coffee or a can of Shant (which is their own beer) without having to venture into the building.

Croxton’s was named after Croxton Town which existed before Southsea and was created by Thomas Croxton in the early 1800s. It was the only built-up area outside of the walls of the military garrison. At the time there were only 4 entry gates into the garrison and Croxton Town was an innovative idea that Thomas came up with to create houses and build a community which he did successfully.

I caught up with Matt, one of the owners, to chat about the new refurbishment that has just taken place and the new hatch which will be a crowd-pleaser all year round.

Hi Matt, thanks for the catch-up.

Am I right in thinking that Croxton’s opened in 2018?

We opened in 2018 and had a great 2 years before Covid came along, we’re still standing, somehow, mainly through the support of our amazing loyal customers. We are all local lads that have other day jobs, so it’s been a challenging year or so to say the least, but we’re stronger now than ever.

I see you guys have had a little refurbishment. Why was this and what work have you done? 

We just felt the time was right to freshen up the interior, and it coincided nicely with a change of the management team, both front of house and behind the scenes, so we’re feeling really good about the future on all fronts.
We always received great compliments regarding our interior look and feel so it wasn’t a massive overhaul, a fresh lick of paint, all new tables and padded chairs in the restaurant side to make that a more comfortable dining experience, along with new lighting, some greenery, acoustic panels, new artwork and an amazing new mural to create a nice ambience in that side of Croxton’s.

On the bar side, we’ve refurbished all the custom-made tables, added new tiles, and extended the bar to go all the way along to the window, this looks great but also serves a purpose so staff can access our new takeaway coffee hatch and serve directly onto the street.

The takeaway coffee hatch is such a good idea. What can people expect from that? Opening hours etc? what can they buy? 

The new hatch has proved popular so far, this end of Palmerston Road was really lacking somewhere to grab a quick coffee on the go. We get decent footfall down the street so we’re hoping our freshly painted white takeaway hatch will grab your attention! It’s open from 11am Tuesday – Sunday. Our plans for the hatch include a new takeaway menu to come in January, you can expect more coffee, dirty hot chocolates, filthy bagels, our trademark black charcoal ice cream and even grab a Shant or 2 to go!

Have you changed any of your menus to coincide with the new refurb? 

We have just released our amazing new cocktails ready for the party season, but as we are just starting to roll out our Christmas menu our standard menu will be revamped in the new year… so look out for that! Our Christmas Menu is proving VERY popular this year and we recommend going and checking out the website.

The black and white branding of Croxton’s is so strong (but I do love the fab pink tiles in the ladies’ bathroom) so is there a reason why you choose black and white for your branding?

When designing Croxton’s we wanted a look that stood out from the crowd and represented us as a young forward-thinking business both visually but a look which also aligned with our food and drink offerings which are always interesting and creative (shout out to the chefs who have been with us since day 1!!)

Oh, that’s great and pretty rare to have the same chefs for so long in the hospitality industry.

We brought these guys on board in 2018 as they are so passionate about their food, we trust them to craft and shape a menu which is interesting for the customers but also one in which they enjoy cooking 6 days a week. Anyone who’s worked in a kitchen knows how stressful it can be, but we keep it fun, and always use the best fresh ingredients every single day which is a super important factor for us and one that is always appreciated by our customers… there’s no microwave in this establishment that’s for sure! If you’ve not been down before we’re known as being one of the best places to get a Sunday roast in Southsea / Portsmouth, and that’s all down to the chefs…Sundays are crazy!!

I do love how Croxton’s works with the community like Sketchy Southsea “Draw and Drink" nights. Do you feel Croxton’s is the hub of the community? 

When opening Croxton’s we always wanted a venue that could be flexible enough to be used for a multitude of purposes and as I work in the creative industry being a hub for all things creative is important to us… along with selling great food and beers, of course!

We’ve hosted local chefs Smokin Dan’s, local photographer exhibitions (Welcome to Croxton Town and Southsea Snapper), the Sketchy Southsea crew come in once a month, Southsea Macrame come and do their thing, local DJs, and local artists from ilovedust, plus our latest mural being done by Gary Stranger.
(drop Croxton’s a message if you’re a local creative group or club who are looking for somewhere to host your next gathering)

I’ve noticed that new Gary Stranger piece on the back wall, which is amazing by the way. How did that collaboration come about? 

I messaged him on a whim really, I was brainstorming new mural ideas and as we’d crossed paths before so I thought that might work in our favour – so I was delighted when he agreed to come in and do that for us. His work is so unique, and he’s recognised worldwide, and living in Southsea we’re blessed to have a few of his artworks dotted around the town – and now one in Croxton’s!

What’s next for Croxton’s?

Keep on improving, and having fun doing it… and maybe one day a Croxton’s number 2.

Oh interesting… thanks Matt, anything else to add?

Croxton’s Kitchen & Tap House, Palmerston Road, Southsea. Locally owned, fully independent.

Good mood food.
Great beers.
Bangin’ cocktails.
I think that’s it.
Oh, our roasts are pretty decent too.
Support local.
Stay safe. Cheers.

Have a look below for all Croxton’s socials and please go and try their superb Sunday roast but make sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.