There’s an exciting new venue in town and it promises to bring something different to the Southsea bar scene!
Officially opening this coming weekend, House of Martha is Southsea’s first and only LGBT bar in recent memory.
I popped in to check it out and the General Manager Taylor explained their vision is to create “the first queer space in Pompey where all allies are very welcome to join in!”
So what can we expect from this new Portsmouth LGBT bar?
The venue and facilities
House of Martha is located in Osborne Road, in what used to be Paul’s Bar, making for a safe and central location.
It had a soft opening a few weeks ago and Taylor’s pleased with how popular it’s proving already. So far, punters have ranged from local gay and lesbian folks to many straight couples.
The venue itself feels like a regular bar and is quite cosy, which should ensure a relaxed and friendly feel. There’s a performance and dance area towards the back, while to the front there’s space for a chilled-out drink and an impressive row of screens playing pop videos.
The team also has plans to bring a touch of glam to the décor in the New Year, and will add a cocktail menu and some food options too.
As a community venue, Taylor says House of Martha is keen to hear from local LGBT+ groups and offer a social space that works for their needs.
As a good old-fashioned cabaret bar, the team also have lots of fun nights planned each week. Wednesday is quiz night, Friday is karaoke and Sunday is eyes down for bingo, for example!
Saturday is cabaret and promises a great mix of singing, dancing, comedy – and even a magician. Taylor says they’ll include new artists in the shows whenever possible, to help support the local creative community.
Several nights are to be hosted by local drag queens, many of whom will be gracing the bar with their glamorous presence for the official launch! For launch weekend, there will be karaoke on Friday and cabaret on Saturday.
The bar hopes to launch a monthly drag brunch next year too.
A focus on value for money
House of Martha offers free entry every night and Taylor emphasises that although it’s a business, “We’re not doing it just for money, we primarily want to create a community space.”
The bar promises fair drinks prices. There will also be deals – on shot for example – and on Thursdays, instead of a ‘happy hour’ the whole day is ‘happy day’ with up to 20% off all drinks. There are discounts for Blue Light card holders too.
House of Martha is sure to bring something exciting, and a little bit different, to the Southsea bar scene. That’s something I think many of us will welcome – our local nightlife can sometimes feel one-dimensional and is not always as relaxed an environment as it could be.
As a cabaret bar there’s a great variety of entertainment on offer for all, while its role as a community space will be appreciated by local LGBT+ folks.
I have to say I got a real sense of welcome and inclusion from my first visit and reckon that everyone will feel comfortable at this new Portsmouth gay bar, whatever their gender or sexuality!
House of Martha is located at 31 Osborne Road PO5 3LR and is open Wednesday to Sunday 3pm – 11pm.