Isn’t it lovely out there this time of year? That beautiful May sunshine, the scent of new flowers emerging, their brightly coloured petals filling our green spaces around Southsea with a sea of colour. Those seemingly never ending warm evenings stretched out and filled with meeting friends at the pub, sitting in the beer garden, drinking and chatting till last orders. Oh, hang on a minute…
Ok, the sun might be shining still – and those evenings are definitely getting longer – but alas, one of life’s true pleasures – meeting friends down the pub – is temporarily cancelled right now. Add to this the fact that the potential economic impact of this closure could be hugely detrimental to many of the independent businesses we have come to know and love means this really is very worrying indeed.
So, if supping a pint in an actual pub is currently not allowed what’s the nearest thing we can do to both replicate this and help support our favourite watering holes? First of all, I’d recommend ordering some beer from The Beer Musketeer. The shop is situated on Albert Road and although you can’t currently visit in person, Jason (Mr Beer Musketeer himself) has recently launched a website and is delivering orders 7 days a week around Southsea. Constantly receiving new stock you’ll find a decent range of craft beer (and cider and gin if they’re your tipple of choice) to suit all tastes. Plus, in the last few days, he’s also started to sell a range of natural wines handpicked by Southsea Wine Siren.
Up in Milton, The Brewer’s Tap are also delivering beer around the local area. They offer a wide range of beer and handily have been stocking different ones to The Beer Musketeer so it really is worth checking out both. They are also offering their own Southsea Brewing beer from the keg in 2-pint takeaway cartons and have just announced that they are back brewing beer in the castle again! Excellent news! So, look out for future Southsea Brewing Beers being released (I hear rumours of more of their beers being available in cans in the very near future too)…
Another of Southsea’s independent breweries – Staggeringly Good – are also still making beer through the crisis. Their recent Little Arms Big Hugs was a delightfully souped up version of their popular Little Arms Big Ambition IPA whilst they have plenty of new brews and old favourites in the pipeline over the next few weeks. Again, orders can be made through their website and they offer free delivery for all orders over £30.
Over in Castle Road, the ever popular Hole in the Wall is back selling pints. Well, in takeaway cartons of course but customers are able to still turn up at the front door and select beer from an ever changing selection. I’d recommend checking their twitter for up-to-date beer lists and opening hours. Meanwhile, The Greenwich Brew pub is offering a freshly kegged beer delivery service and again, information on what’s available is usually found via social media.
Of course, The Greenwich is usually home to Nice Slice pizza and although they are not currently serving food, many of Southsea’s pubs and bars have turned to online delivery of their food and it’s worth remembering that a few are offering beer orders alongside your meal. One of my personal favourites, Huis – Elm Grove’s uber-cool Belgian bar – serves the most amazing food but also houses the largest selection of Belgian beers in the area. Delivery is currently through Uber Eats
Remember though that for some businesses the situation has meant they are unable to currently offer any takeaway or delivery services. One such venue is The Wave Maiden which is one of my favourite bars in the city and, on a personal note, another venue that has been such a huge supporter of Southsea Ale Club over the years. However, they have recently launched a crowdfunder to help support them during this period. Owners Ali and Paul are asking people to chip in with the cost of a pint (or round!) in order to help them get through this very difficult period.
Of course, the above venues and businesses are but a handful of the amazing range of places catering for our drinking needs here in Southsea and I haven’t even begun to talk about where you can now get a decent cocktail delivered in lockdown (oh, ok then – order some fantastic food from Maya and check out their cocktails at the same time). Now is not the time to just stick a couple of beers in your basket during your supermarket shop. Local venues and businesses need our help and if we want to continue making memories in the places we all love to hang out with friends and partners alike we need to be supporting them right now. Do that, and they’ll be welcoming us back in those beer gardens before too long.
By Chris Horton from the Southsea Ale Club
Feature photo – from the Beer Muskateer