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Spice Island Inn, Portsmouth

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user reviews of the Spice Island Inn, Portsmouth

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The guide on the Harbour Tour boat trip told us that Horatio Nelson (titles are left outside the pub) departed for Trafalgar from this tavern, now run by Greene King (or that part of it before the change of name and amalgamation). Our first attempt to visit the Spice Island Inn in 2012 was thwarted by renovation building works, which may be described as ordinary in outcome. It’s worth popping in, though. As to the positives: there are good views across part of the harbour (but upstairs was closed when we went, presumably for supplier-side ease of management); the staff member from middle Europe was very welcoming and interested in his customers; and the excellent Festival Ale 3.8% was something to write home about – “Festival Ale, American Style IPA, American Cascade hops, tropical fruit notes with a bitter linger”. The beer was part of their beer festival, so let’s hope it continues to be available afterwards.
Mona_Growser - 26 Sep 2013 13:08
Fullers pub in Old Portsmouth, with great views over the water front and across to the Royal Navy dockyard. Unfortunately it seems to trade on its location. The interior is quite sparsely furnished and is not cosy: seems designed to cram in as many tourists as possible. Fish and chips is available on Fridays but seemed quite pricey...not sure I'd trust anything else from the menu either. Four Fullers ales. In good condition but expensive, and no guest ales. Ambivalent service: neither rude nor welcoming. OK if you have the family, otherwise there must surely be better locals near by.
JonRambo - 1 Jul 2012 21:24
Nothing short but shocking. Go there with life insurance and plently of time. First occasion the fire doors were locked. Illegal guys. 2nd occasion food was awful, 3rd occasion 5 staff working but still had to wait over 5 minutes to get served. Granted 1 was making coffee and two were dealing with customer complaints for poor food and excessive wait. You've had your chances guys. Sorry but piss up on a brewery comes to mind.
pinballwizard - 31 Dec 2011 14:34
I went into the Spice Island after browsing through some menu's in the guesthouse I was staying at. I initially wanted to go there because of the location (camber dock, overlooking the harbour).

Really friendly staff, good food and good ale (Old Speckled Hen). Well done Spice Island. We will come back in the summer.
troth - 27 Jan 2011 19:54
If the previous reviewer believes that there is no processed food in this place then I am seriously worried about the state of this country. This place is dire- spacious and cold hearted, there is little to offer here. Usual british pub chipped and flaking walls and poor quality furniture- beer uninspiring and run by kids. Best off staying indoors.
alezilla - 8 Jan 2011 16:53
I came down from Surrey with my family to visit the Spice Island Inn after a friend recommended it too me. Fantastic! My husband and I as well as our children were offered a lovely window seat, The kids looked at the various ferries and ships going by which kept them entertained for ages! Food was great, especially the fish and chips, and how refreshing to see a childrens menu which DOES'NT consist of chicken nuggets and other processed nightmares! Excellent service, In fact the waitress even took the time to give us directions to Gunwharf which is a modern shopping complex just across the water. We will definantly be going back when we next visit portsmouth. ps, If you are visiting portsmouth, there is a local ferry that goes to a place across the water called gosport, don't go there, very boring!!
sallysky - 2 Nov 2010 18:57
Big fan. Took the kids, we were all looked after by a very attentive young man, food came quickly and was generously portioned far better than i expected, had been to the still and west before, but tried the spice island and was very impressed. I will be bringing the family back here next time. fantastic views and despite a wedding reception upstairs all aspects of the service were great. Kids were kept quiet by colouring pages, always a winner.
Pampersmagic - 10 May 2010 15:43
We don't have many great pubs in Portsmouth but this is one of my favourites
hjhsh - 4 May 2010 15:18
Down in Portsmouth on holiday, thought we'd try for a pub with a nice view for a meal. Found this gem, beautiful view of spinnaker tower and harbour, with plenty of atmosphere. IPA was good, the service was really good, we were waited on hand and foot by a very attentive staff, the manager was always in sight ensuring things ran smoothly, was cheaper than its neighbouring pubs so we stayed after our meal drinking into the night.
DannyEdersley01 - 1 May 2010 13:13
I had a good pint of IPA in here, but I would have to say I preferred the Still and West next door. THe Spice Island doesn;t seem quite as cared for, there were glasses and rubbish left on tables which were still there when we left 40 minutes later.
lutefisk - 23 Feb 2010 15:46
Strange how it works out beer off last time but nice food, beer good this time but food shocking!! Scampi and chips with peas and tartare sauce. No tartare sauce on plate would have sent it back but the tartare sauce may have been a bit salty!!! if you know what I mean! scampi seems to have been deep fried in a volcano. but the eight chips I got were nice..... but at least I could watch the ships go by, shocking pub!
garyharrison - 1 Feb 2010 01:04
Used to be 2 seperate pubs and was better for it if drinking was your game! Beer is ok, though staff don't know a good pint from a bad one in my experience. Food only average, but views entice people back I would guess. One to take your visiting relatives to, but not really a 'drinkers pub'.
odbod - 20 Jan 2010 13:19
Used top be 2 pubs and was better for it if drinking was your game! Beer is ok, though staff don't know a good pint from a bad one in my experience. Food only average, but views entice people back I would guess. One to take you visiting relatives to but not a 'drinkers pub'.
odbod - 20 Jan 2010 13:19
You can't miss this pub (or the Stll and West opposite) if you're coming in to Portsmouth Harbour on a ferry. Finally got to visit last August, part of the Greene King empire done up inside in their usual style (which is fine), with Greene King IPA (ugh!), Speckled Hen, and Abbot (more than made up for the presence of the IPA - the best beer in the GK range in my opinion) on draught. Tried the Hen and Abbot, both in good condition. Wonderful location. Didn't try the food so can't comment on that, but guess it would be the 'corporate' menu and very similar to what you would see in their other pubs. Would visit and have a pint there again.
idc - 15 Jan 2010 23:03
A sunny day , sat outside eating fish and chips, drinking Speckled hen and watching the ships go past. Fantastic. Yes it has to be a tourist trap situated where it is. One small worry ,there appears to be imminent building of high rise residential units nearby.They could curtail the view to the righthand side.
bee578 - 29 Jun 2009 09:46
Great pub!! Really famous building If i could I would become a regular!!

Mintos - 12 Dec 2008 03:47
This was once three separate pubs each with their own unique nautical theme settings. Still, an ideal place to quaff a few cold beers on a sunny day watching the world (literally) go by, ships and ferries often going anywhere. The food is also of a very high standard in the restaurant upstairs and all the more delightful if you can get a window table.
Mike142 - 30 Jun 2008 15:18
Fabulously located at the neck of Portsmouth Harbour. The restaurant is upstairs and the food was lovely. It's a devil of a place to park though.
Motorway - 10 Jun 2008 18:36
what agreat location what a crap pub
littlecon - 27 May 2007 13:38
No beers on offer that could tempt me in.

The building is interesting though: Grade II listed. It was originally two pubs and there are still signs of one of the former names.
Wade1957 - 7 Sep 2006 16:32
Terrific views across the harbour and well kept beers to boot. Staff attentive and far friendlier than those working at the nearby Still and West. Nice outside seating area although I believe that the local society for the visually impaired meet here judging by the amount of people who ignore the sign that says 'No glasses to be taken beyond this point'.
johnkn7 - 19 Jul 2006 13:34

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