Hop PresshopsHop Press Issue 90 front cover.

Issue 90 – December 2021

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Hop Press is normally a paper publication, distributed to pubs, but we have yet to get back in the swing of full production, not helped by losing our production company, so once again there's no paper version of December 2021 Hop Press. But we do have Pubs News which we will show below on-line only. Being on-line the content can be dynamic, so pop back now and again to see what we've added – articles will have dates.


National News Summary Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

CAMRA 50th anniversary logo

50 years of CAMRA

2021 saw CAMRA celebrate its 50th birthday. As part of the celebrations Gold Awards were given to breweries, pubs and individuals who have made a significant impact on real ale and pubs over the last 50 years.

Though no pubs within our area were included, many readers will have visited some of the award winners such as the Square & Compass, Worth Matravers and the Hole in the Wall, Portsmouth.

The full lists can be found here: camra.org.uk/50-years/golden-awards

CAMRA’s iconic Good Beer Guide shows industry’s resilience in the face of pandemic

The 2022 Good Beer Guide was launched in November. The Guide, which surveys 4,500 pubs across the UK, is considered the definitive beer drinker’s guide to the very best pints in the most picturesque and friendly pubs. Despite being hampered by lockdowns and restrictions in the early part of this year, thousands of independent volunteers have worked together to compile this year’s entries, helping to identify significant trends and themes locally and nationally.


Proposed changes affecting the pub and brewing industries

There have been a number of developments over the last few months that will have an effect on the future of pubs and breweries.

The proposed changes are to:

  • The way that taxation on beer and cider is calculated
  • Small Brewers’ Relief
  • The Pubs Code

The proposed changes to the tax paid on draught beer gained a lot of publicity at the time of the October Budget. The change, to be implemented in 2023, will see a new, lower rate of duty for draught beer and cider served in pubs and clubs.


The Small Brewers’ Relief Scheme, which was introduced in the UK in 2002, was created to allow smaller brewers to pay less tax, which helps compensate for the economies of scale enjoyed by larger brewers. The background to the scheme and what the Society of Independent Brewers would like changed can be found here:


At the end of November, the Government announced some proposed changes to the scheme. While broadly welcomed, it would see taxation rise for some brewers. CAMRA’s response can be found here:


The Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) is the independent regulator responsible for enforcing the statutory Pubs Code (the Code). The Code regulates the relationship between all pub companies (referred to as pub-owning businesses in the Code) owning 500 or more tied pubs in England and Wales and their tied tenants.

The pub companies covered by the Code are:

  • Admiral
  • Greene King
  • Marston’s
  • Punch Pubs
  • Star Pubs & Bars
  • Stonegate (trading name of Ei Group)

The principles of the Code are to ensure:

  • fair and lawful dealing by pub companies in their dealing with tied tenants
  • tied tenants are no worse off than if they were free of tie

Changes to the code were announced in November. CAMRA’s reaction to the changes can be found here camra.org.uk/press_release/camra-reacts-to-governments-proposed-changes-to-the-pubs-code

Pub News November 2021 Hop Press index

Rob Whatley

Pubs have reopened and so far we are pleased to report that few local casualties have been identified. While some pubs in our area are still closed, or have been converted to other uses, these changes were underway before lockdown. Some new outlets have opened during this year, while some other pubs were only open for a short time before lockdown but are now fully operational. Some pubs took the opportunity of lockdown to refurbish their premises. A few had to close for a while after reopening as staff had to go into isolation.

So what does the new normal look like? Some outlets are still operating table service, an option preferred by some customers. Bar stools have disappeared from some venues. It is not unusual to see fewer real ales available than before lockdown but that may be good in terms of quality control if turnover is lower. In some pubs the COVID-required changes are still in place while in others the arrangements are back to how it was pre-COVID.

Beer festivals have re-emerged with some hosted by pubs, larger events such as that run by Romsey Round Table and of course our own Woolston Beer Festival.

One aspect that has been consistently reported is a reduction in the number of customers visiting pubs later in the evening. It is not only pubs that are seeing this pattern but also other services such as takeaways and convenience stores. There have also been reports that older customers are more reluctant to visit pubs.

So what has been happening over the last few months?


Cocky Anchor, Romsey
Cocky Anchor, Romsey

When restrictions were lifted, Romsey drinkers benefitted more than most, with the opening of two new outlets. The Cocky Anchor micropub in Market Place has, as the name suggests, a nautical theme. Up to three changing real ales are available at the Grade II listed building, that was previously a Boots store. In addition to the main bar, which features a mix of wood panelling and brickwork, there is a substantial outdoor drinking area at the rear which has views of the abbey.

The Exchange cocktail and tapas bar, located in the former Santander Bank in Market Place, also opened but sadly no real ale is available. The White Horse also reopened after a somewhat troubled period. There was though one sad bit of news when, as expected, a kitchen store opened in the former Abbey Hotel in Church Street in April.

Flack Manor's taproom has opened at the brewery. Current opening times are Thursday 1700-2100, Friday 1600-2100, Saturday 1200-1600; these may vary, so it's advisable to phone before visiting. Full opening is not likely to be until March 2022.

Work continues at the Dukes Head at Greatbridge but at the time of writing there is no indication of an opening date.

The original plans for the Abbotswood development, on the north-east outskirts of Romsey, included plans for a GP surgery and pub. Now however, the land set aside for these facilities will be filled by a three-storey, 36 apartment retirement home. Developers McCarthy and Stone claimed that there had been no interest from potential buyers of a public house.


Let us hope that the proposed new pub on the Kings Barton development, on the northern edge of Winchester, does not suffer the same fate. A pub and a community centre are due to be completed when 1,000 new homes have been occupied. After three years of building, 330 houses have been completed. When complete, there will be 2,000 homes.

Roebuck, Winchetser
Roebuck, Winchetser

Deliveries to the Roebuck in Stockbridge Road can now take place during the day, having previously been restricted to the hours of 7am-9am.

Urgent work was required at the First In, Last Out (FILO) in order to correct structural defects to the first floor gable wall. The pub, which is owned by Star Pubs and Bars, has been closed since early 2019.

The Slug and Lettuce in The Square closed in September. It may become a new outlet in the Giggling Squid Thai food chain. An application has been submitted to allow take away sales, which were not allowed under previous planning conditions for the premises.

As part of the Licensing Act 2003, police are able to apply for pub licences to be reviewed by local licensing committees. This is a fairly rare occurrence but did occur during the summer with a review of the licence of the Exchange. Following the review, the pub retained its licence and the council and licence holder agreed on required changes. A new review request was submitted in November for the Pitcher and Piano.

While the premises that previously hosted the Greene King owned Lock Fyne restaurant is available for rent, a new fish and chip restaurant, Shoal, which is located at the Guildhall in what was previously Eighteen71 Cafe, is up and running. Shoal is managed by the same team that runs the Fox at Crawley and the Bugle at Twyford.

St Cross

An application to open “an independent upmarket/retail café/retail and bar concept that will be appealing to couples, tourists, families and commuters” in the Pump House in Garnier Road, St Cross was withdrawn before being discussed by Winchester licensing committee. The application was made by Alex Donnan and Laura Turner, who are co-founders of the General Store in The Square, Winchester. The application had attracted 38 objections. Revised plans are now being worked on. They are likely to include a café but not the sale of alcohol.


The Bugle hosted a pumpkin festival in October, with more than £1,500 raised for the Twyford Playgroup.


The Plough Inn, Sparsholt is now part of the Little Pub Group, which also includes city pubs, the St James Tavern, the King Alfred and the Mucky Duck.


Queen's Head, Fisher's Pond in May 2013
Queen's Head, Fisher's Pond in May 2013

Another pub group, Ideal Collection, took the lockdown as an opportunity to refurbish the White Horse, Otterbourne. Customers can now enjoy an outside bar and pizza oven, children’s play area, heated dining and drinking huts and a heated pagoda.

Fisher’s Pond

A pub that closed at the start of the pandemic, the Queen’s Head at Fisher’s Pond, is set to be replaced by a 60-bed care home.

Colden Common

An application to demolish the former Black Horse in Colden Common and replace it with an apartment block containing seven flats was later withdrawn. The pub closed in 2014 and has since been used as a housing,

Kings Worthy

An application has been submitted for the installation and replacement of various external signs and lighting at the Cart and Horses, Kings Worthy. The new signs would reflect the pub joining Greene King’s Chef and Brewer chain.


There have been a number of attempts to build housing on the site of the former Flying Boat pub in Calshot. Following refusal by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) a subsequent appeal was rejected by planning inspectors. One reason given was that the development would be contrary to the NPA’s Local Plan.


We were sad to hear of the death of Simon Dawson, the manager of the Old Mill, Holbury. Simon had worked at the pub for more than 13 years.


An appeal against the New Forest National Park Authority’s decision to refuse an application to convert a skittle alley into overnight accommodation at the Bold Forester in Beaulieu Road was dismissed by planning inspectors.

Fullers have been granted planning permission to make various external changes at the Pilgrim Inn.


Players in Totton has been demolished following the granting of permission to build six homes on the site. It had been closed for four years.


Dusty Barrel, Hythe
Dusty Barrel, Hythe
May saw the opening of the Dusty Barrel in Unit 5, Pylewell Road, Hythe. It is run by the same team that operates Beards and Boards in Bedford Place, Southampton. The style is similar to Beards and Boards, with décor featuring distressed wood, brick, steel and wooded casks. A selection of real ales is available, alongside keg craft beers. The upstairs features music and there is an outside drinking area in front of the pub.

One way to arrive in Hythe is via the ferry. Recently £1,000 was raised by the Lord Nelson pub which will help with the refurbishment of the pier and its railway.

A new bar has opened in Hythe, though it is not open to the general public. In common with a number of care homes, Carpathia Grange has opened a bar the Carpathia Arms for the use of residents.


Hall and Woodhouse have submitted a plan to convert the first and second floors of the Empress of Blandings into 14 bedrooms. The application states that the changes would enhance the long-term viability of the business.


The Bell Inn at Brook has been sold, having been on the market for three years. The purchase by Stella Asset Management also includes Bramshaw Golf Club.


Not raising the roof but raising the chimneys was on the agenda for the Sir John Barleycorn at Cadnam. Permission was granted to raise the height of the pub’s chimneys in order to increase the distance between them and the pub’s thatched roof.


An application has been submitted for an open-sided timber framed structure, to adjoin the existing pergola at the New Forest at Ashurst.


A request has been made to construct a timber-framed shelter in the back garden of the Fox and Hounds, Lyndhurst. The proposal includes fixed seating and lighting. As with the previous two planning applications mentioned above, the application was submitted by owners Fullers, who seem to have been having a review of their local estate.

Lyndhurst Park Hotel in November 2010
Lyndhurst Park Hotel in November 2010

At long last the future of the Lyndhurst Park Hotel appears to have been decided. The New Forest National Park Authority has given permission for the construction of 79 apartments and three shops to be built on the site. Some of the more interesting historic parts of the building would be part of the new development.


An application to instal an electric vehicle charging point at the Huntsman in Brockenhurst was successful.


The Filly Inn, Setley reopened during the summer following a £1m refurbishment during lockdown. Seven en-suite bedrooms are now featured and the revamp included a major transformation of the outside area.


New external signage and lighting was approved for the Fleur de Lys at Pilley.


The Wheel Inn at Pennington has reopened and is now trading as the New Wheel Inn. A refurbishment has taken place and five guest rooms have been created.

During the summer brewing commenced at the new brewery based at the Monkey Brewhouse. Cask beers brewed include Tollhouse Bitter, Sea Wall IPA and Pannage Porter. Other changes at the pub include the opening of a new terrace and the refurbishment of the bed and breakfast rooms.

Plans for a new café-bar at Town Quay have been abandoned. The proposed building, that would also have featured public showers and toilets, attracted mass criticism, with the proposed building being likened by some to a second world war gun emplacement.

Six new letting rooms have been built at the Walhampton Arms, bringing the total to eleven.

New Milton

Wheatsheaf, New Milton
Wheatsheaf, New Milton

A proposal to build two three-bedroomed houses in the car park of the Wheatsheaf in New Milton were rejected by New Forest planners. An appeal against the decision was lodged in October.


Since it closed in 2018 White Horse a protracted process has seen various plans for the pub itself and the surrounding land were submitted and in one case agreed before revised plans came in. Now the situation has finally been resolved, with the pub set to become two, three-bedroom dwellings and three further properties to be constructed in the garden to the rear. Following this decision, the developer’s appeal against a previous refusal to allow four homes at the pub was refused by planning inspectors.

The recent planning applications referred to the building as the, “…former White Horse Pub…” This raises the question of when a pub becomes a former pub.


During the lockdown the Gun Inn at Keyhaven underwent comprehensive refurbishment after being purchased in late 2020 by local resident Chris Cecil-Wright. It reopened under the management of Peter Troup and Jim Gedge, who also run the Boson’s Chair in Lymington and the Grapes in Southampton.


Drop the Anchor Brewery, Hinton
Drop the Anchor Brewery, Hinton

During the first lockdown Drop the Anchor Brewery moved from Christchurch to a new home just across the county border at East Close Farm, Hinton. The brewery is open for takeaways and to enjoy a beer on site on Fridays and Saturdays.


When outdoor service was reintroduced in April many pubs introduced a bookings only policy. Unfortunately, some pubs, such as the George in Fordingbridge, found that many of those who had booked failed to appear on the day. On one Saturday evening a quarter of the 120 customers who had booked failed to appear. In March minor damage was caused when a lorry collided with the side of the pub. As a reward to the staff who have had to deal with all the stresses of the lockdowns and phased reopenings, landlady Caroline Roylance has decided to close the pub for four days over Christmas to enable staff to spend time with friends and family.


In nearby Whitsbury, the Cartwheel also had a brief closure from 30 August to 8 September so that staff could “recharge their batteries.” In common with many other venues, problems in recruiting staff post lockdown led to existing staff working longer hours.


Yet another planning application from Fullers is to, “Form new timber framed pitched roof structure with terracotta roof tiles. Heating and lighting within structure.” At the Alice Lisle at Rockford.


Horse and Groom, Woodgreen
Horse and Groom, Woodgreen

A year’s temporary permission has been granted for the continued use of a marquee at the Horse and Groom at Woodgreen. The application had requested planning permission for three years.


A new café bar, Arboro Lounge, opened in The Furlong, Ringwood in October. The site previously hosted department store Furlong Furniture. It was the 150th venue for the Lounge brand. Others in the group include Santo Lounge and Trago Lounge in Southampton.

As mentioned in the last Pub News, the Fish is now part of the Butcombe Brewery group. It is another change however that has caused the pub some problems. The closure of access from West Street to the A31 has had a major impact on passing trade.

A defibrillator has been installed at the London Tavern in Poulner. The equipment was purchased from money raised through crowdfunding to cover repairs to the pub following a break-in. The repairs were carried out for free, so the money was used to help the local community.

Southampton: Millbrook

A defibrillator has also been installed at the Saints pub in Millbrook. It was purchased by Millbrook Football Club through the FA but was funded by the pub.

Southampton: Coxford

The Bridge Tavern in Coxford closed in 2007. Various applications have been submitted since then to redevelop the site, but without success. The latest request before planners is to demolish the pub and replace it with a four-storey block containing 15 flats.

Southampton: Shirley

One pub that did close during lockdown and has not reopened at the time of writing is the Griffin in Anglesea Road, Shirley. In April it was put on the market requesting, “Offers in excess of £395,000”.

Papillon, Southampton
Papillon, Southampton

Southampton: Commercial Road

The Vestry, the former church opposite the Mayflower Theatre in Commercial Road, reopened in October as Papillon, a “restaurant bar and events space.” While the marketing features a butterfly image, for those of a certain age Papillon brings to mind a dishevelled Steve McQueen in the jungle. The venue is the latest acquisition of the Bedford Place Pub Group, whose other venues include XOXO in Bedford Place.

Southampton: Bedford Place and London Road

The saga of the pedestrianisation of Bedford Place, Carlton Place and Lower Bannister Street continues. In August last year the roads were closed to traffic as outdoor seating areas were placed in the carriageway outside bars and restaurants.

Before the April lockdown changes that allowed outside drinking, street art enhanced the area. It was funded by Go Southampton. Following a change in the control of the council in the May election, the Bedford Place closure was reversed in July. Fortunately, after an appeal to the council, the seating area outside of Beards and Boards remained, having been threatened with being replaced by parking when Bedford Place reopened.

Now a “Bedford Place Co-design Working Group” has been established and the possibility of night-time closures of part of Bedford Place is among the options being discussed.

Number 3 Bedford Place is now operating as Number 3 Wine Bar and Restaurant. A little further on, the Rhino club on Waterloo Terrace, which closed in 2014, has been demolished and building work is well underway to replace it with a restaurant with ten one-bedroom flats above.

In Vernon Walk CRIB has opened in what was previously Smoke and Mirrors. As well as serving food and drinks it also features shuffleboard.

At the Cricketers in Carlton Place, outline planning permission has been granted for the, “Erection of a 3-storey rear extension to create 2x 2-bed flats with associated cycle/refuse storage and reconstruction of part of the existing public house”. The supporting statement from owner John Cooney stated that, “…COVID and other commercial pressures have made the commercial viability even more challenging, hence one of the reasons for this planning application. We need to diversify to survive, and we see this as being a way to protect the pub in its near current state, and at the same time offer some additional earning potential.”

Sadler’s Bar and Smokehouse is closed and has a sign advertising Commercial Unit with Flats. Property agent Savills’ web site says that the site is under offer.

During the summer Trilogy nightclub opened in London Road in what was previously Junk nightclub.

Southampton: Above Bar

The Above Bar is getting back to its previous level of trading as the various venues open. Some are very much as before, while others have a new look.

Stable, Southampton
Stable, Southampton

The Stable reopened in June, pretty much unchanged. It is part of a national chain that was purchased by the Three Joes group from Fullers in summer 2020.

One unit up from The Stable is Gin and Olive bar and restaurant. An application to stay open until 2.30am at weekends was rejected but a closing time of 2.00am was agreed with the licensing committee. Customers will not be able to sit outside after 11.00pm. A similar venture with the same name and owners is already open in Albert Road, Southsea.

The Attic cocktail bar has been opened above Mettricks Guildhall and entrance is through Mettricks. It offers “craft cocktails” in a cosy atmosphere furnished with Chesterfield chairs.

Down the street a little and work has been taking place at Sharkey’s Sports Bar. An application to erect large advertising panels above the entrance was rejected by planners as, “By reason of its inappropriate scale, size, illumination, appearance, and siting, the proposed advertisements represent an intrusive and over dominant display and would be visually intrusive to the surroundings of this part of Above Bar Street and detrimental to the established character and appearance of area.”

Across the road is Switch nightclub. Following the closure of Oceana as part of the Leisureworld redevelopment, it has now announced a joint enterprise with Switch to continue some of the events that used to be run at Oceana. Behind Switch a name has been resurrected in the form of the Painted Wagon. The sports bar is very much Saints themed but unfortunately does not feature the range of real ales of the 1970s original.

Revolution de Cuba has attracted various fauna in recent months, some welcome and others less so. In June a swarm of bees landed on the exterior of the premises. No injuries were reported before the bees flew on. On 7 November there was a warm welcome for cockapoos, dachshunds and their owners as they attended a disco dog café event organised by company Pug Café. Queues formed as hundreds of two and four legged customers arrived.

Southampton: High Street

Liberty's, Southampton
Liberty's, Southampton

Following a previous rejection, a new planning application has been submitted to construct flats at what was previously Liberty’s sports bar.

Southampton: Oxford Street

To start at the beginning, 1 Oxford Street now hosts One Oxford, a cocktail and champagne lounge.

During the summer, an application to open a roof-top bar at the building that hosts Medbar at 50 Oxford Street was refused.

Opening nearby was Rita’s, in what was previously Chimichanga. Advertised as an Art Deco cocktail bar and restaurant, there were also plans to open a blow dry bar within the venue.

What was previously 25 Oxford Street and Prezzo has now become Tropic Bar.

At 31-32 Oxford Street, Pizza Express is now Pam Pam, a pizza restaurant and cocktail bar.

Not far away, planning permission has been granted for a container complex in part of the College Street car park. The College Street Yard, which could house restaurants, bars, offices and studios, now has permission for 10 years, having previously been granted permission for five years.

Southampton: Bevois Valley

The Rockstone reopened during the summer with new landlady Flavia Samson. As she originally hails from Transylvania, it will not come as a surprise that the menu has been revamped.

The Hobbit reopened during the summer following a £600,000 revamp. The décor predictably follows a fantasy theme, and there were also upgrades to the cellar and toilets. The work was overseen by Jack Andrews, who also run the nearby Shooting Star.

Southampton: St Denys

The Junction Inn reopened in September and is now run by Matthew Southwell and Chloe Paxton, who moved to the area from Banbury.

Southampton: Portswood

The Richmond Inn in Portswood has been closed since being sold in 2019. Planning permission was granted in April 2020 to convert part of ground floor to a shop and the rest to flats/bedsits. Work is underway at the site at the time of writing.

Ceno, Portswood, Southampton
Ceno, Portswood, Southampton

During the various steps of COVID regulations, there were various restrictions at different times. While the vast majority of licensed premises complied fully with the pertaining regulations there were a few exceptions. Ceno Bar and Restaurant in Highfield Lane, Portswood lost its licence in January 2021 after 15 people were found drinking on the premises in the previous November, contrary to the prevailing restrictions. The licence was reinstated in April, under a new licence holder.

Southampton: Bitterne Park and Bitterne

Also losing its licence for a similar reason during a Christmas party was the Bitterne Park Hotel. The premises reopened under new management in May as Mbuntu Cocktail Bar & Bistro. The new owners, who are originally from Nigeria, are Prince and Dorothy Ogbuji. Mbuntu is an African word which means, “I am who I am because of who we are.”

The Tipsy Squirrel pub has opened in Bitterne. Readers should not get too excited though as it is only open to residents of the Oak Lodge Care Home.


The Dancing Goose (formerly Netley Grange) closed in autumn 2020. Planning permission was granted to convert the building to housing. Another part of that planning application was to, “…replace existing pub with newly converted premises and trade in a similar way but on a more manageable size.” This is now open as Woodies Wine Bar.


An application to replace the existing canvas structure to external seating area on the jetty at the Jolly Sailor with a new retractable canopy was agreed by Eastleigh planners.

Chandler’s Ford

The Village Hotel, next to Asda on Bournemouth Road, opened in May. It features a pub and grill.

An application has been submitted to erect numerous signs at the Hut. It is related to controlling free parking to customers only.

The owners of Steel Tank took the opportunity of lockdown to make changes to the décor of the premises. Still very much the same atmosphere but with some changes to the seating and walls.


Wagon Works, Eastleigh
Wagon Works, Eastleigh

In the Hampshire Independent free sheet its archive column from 11 October 1890 included a report on the Home Tavern in Eastleigh, which is now the Wagon Works. Before the railways arrived, Eastleigh consisted of a few buildings, one of which was the Home Tavern, which was the oldest. Following a fire, a new Home Tavern was built. The construction date of 1887 is displayed on the southern gable end of the current building. The article in the Hampshire Independent states, “ …the old thatched house being allowed to remain standing by its side, but as it is now intended to still further extend the new building, the quiet old house has had to go, to the regret of all lovers of antiquity.” This explains the later date of 1890 displayed on the northern gable end of the Wagon Works.

So extending popular pubs in the town is nothing new. Steam Town has extended the drinking areas of the premises to include a new first floor room and some adjustments to the outside areas.

Amidst some doom and gloom surrounding certain aspects of the beer and pub trade it is good to see that there are still businesses that are doing well in the “new normal”.

If you have any news about pub openings, change of landlords, closures, or other interesting news, let us know at pubinfo@shantscamra.org.uk

Hop Press issue number 90 – December 2021

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
SO50 4HY
023 8064 2246

© CAMRA Ltd. 2021