There’s something about water, especially when there’s lots happening on it, that is both therapeutic and time-wasting. So, if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare and fancy a pint of real ale or a speciality gin, whatever the weather, then head to the Still & West at Old Portsmouth.
This is a very old Grade II listed pub which sits right on the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour. Refurbished by Fullers in 2017, it’s been designed to make the most of its windows and waterfront with two levels and a courtyard all with views of yachts, ferries and fishing boats sailing close by.
It’s ideal if the wind is howling, as a way to watch a moody seascape in comfort, complete with a log burner, wooden floors, candles and soft lighting. But it really comes into its own in the Summer months when couples, families with kids and young people take to the ‘garden’ for some sunshine and the sense that you’re on holiday even if it’s mid-week.
We recently visited and ordered their fish sharing platter – smoked salmon, smoked mackerel pate, goujons and some crusty bread and butter. Seemed appropriate with that view! The couple next to us said their traditional fish and chips was sublime. (If you’re a fan of fish, head afterwards to the Portsmouth fish market, Viviers just round the corner.) The bar menu is fairly limited but had something for most tastes – but beware it does get busy so book if you want to eat.
Sunday lunch has its own menu, and the walks from the pub along Old Portsmouth and the hot walls are scenic and gentle – all very civilised.
The real ales on offer look good and there are a range of ciders on tap and an impressive gin selection. It’s dog and family-friendly and has fairly easy access with a wheelchair – the street outside is cobbled and the door is tight but the ground floor was level and there are two disabled parking spaces and accessible toilets.
At the time of posting, Fullers have an offer on their website ‘get a free drink on them’ for joining their mailing list so if you haven’t ever been to Old Portsmouth now may just be the time.
The pub is close to the Historic Dockyard and Portsmouth’s attractions and sits just a stone’s throw from Gunwharf Quays. Somehow this feels more wholesome – a slightly different experience and one which seems genuinely relaxing. Perfect for some therapy and time-wasting I’d say.