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Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

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user reviews of the Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Under new ownership. Only obvious change is an increase in the number of ales from 8 to 11. Unfortunately 3 of them are from Fullers, otherwise can't fault the place.
baxterfish - 22 Nov 2015 15:17
New management as of this week, Paul & Margaret no longer in place.
A bit of a shock on entering with some obvious changes being made, but hopefully it will retain its place as a haven for ale enthusiasts?
StoneBlack - 1 Sep 2015 00:33
Single room back street pub - rather plain, with some off-putting carpet, and lacking in charm, but homely enough. This place is all about the beer range. Seven to nine casks. It's not a place to bring the family or the kids or your wife or girlfriend. It's a place to come to sample a few beers, and perhaps have a chat with fellow men. It's friendly enough and quite harmless, but if you're not interested in ticking beers, then it's unlikely to be the pub for you. Simple rolls and bags of crisps for food.
SilkTork - 19 Nov 2014 00:33
One of the best pubs in Southampton, we paid it another visit on Saturday afternoon. It was much busier than our previous Monday evening visit. But as the previous reviewer says, the bar staff are efficient and you will get served in good time, despite the patrons spilling out into the street. The ale selection was Fullers ESB, Hopback Summer Lightning & Crop Circle, Flowerpots Goodens Gold, Oaklead May Bee Mild, Butcome Gold & Rare Breed, Dark Star Partridge & Red Cat Bitter. Worth a visit.
blue_scrumpy - 28 Apr 2014 19:13
Nearly perfect, like someones front room with beer.
Usually a decent rotating selection of 7 or 8 ales in a variety of styles with very well kept Fullers ESB as a constant.
Plenty of Saints memorabilia on the walls if thats your bag, as well of plenty of other general reading material on the shelves, gets very busy on match days but getting served is not a chore as the bar is always well run.
Popular with some of the local CAMRA types too, can be quite amusing to watch on occassion...
Try the pickled eggs when you visit!
FLO - 20 Feb 2014 22:40
Small single-room backstreet pub that seems popular with Southampton fans on matchdays. The beer selection is good and reasonably priced. Yesterday's selection was Fullers ESB, Flowerpots Goodens Gold & Perridge Pale, Dark Star American Pale Ale & Hophead Galaxy, Flack Manor Black Jack, Salisbury English Ale & Alfred's Saxon Bronze. They have a large selection of rolls for £1 each and an interesting selection of books on one wall. I've often seen the high rating on this site and looked forward to visiting. It's certainly worthy of a visit. But we did prefer the South Western.
blue_scrumpy - 22 Jan 2013 22:35
Very good range of ales, cheap prices, good little pub, but too small, does get very busy quite easily and almost feels like someone's front room at times!
Beer_in_the_morning - 31 Dec 2012 10:58
Great little boozer featuring local ales at very fair prices - and they have rolls available during most of the afternoon. It was being painted when we went so the outside will now look a bit brighter. We had good service and were offered tasters of beers we had not drunk before. As I have said before - this is exactly what a good boozer should be. Don't miss it.
mcroyal - 8 Nov 2012 11:09
I forgot to mention, they sell third of a pints, I have only seen this at CAMRA Festivals, a good idea as drinkers might like to drink all of their eight ales on offer.
slerpy - 28 Sep 2012 17:45
A good pub In with a wide range of Micro Brewery ales, the service is a little unwelcoming. Newspapers are provided. The ales are generally about 2.90, the outside is scruffy and gives the Impression of being closed down. Why Oh why do they stock bloody London Pride? It is available everywhere. 8/10, I would say 7 and a half if I could.
slerpy - 25 Sep 2012 19:53
fivedaysfiveshirts - 25 Sep 2012 16:56
Excellent community pub serving wide range of ales mostly local - likely to find Flower Pots, Goddards and Dark Star beers.

Bit of an old boys pub but friendly banter and good ale, dart board in corner and TV for Olympics.
mikey64 - 3 Aug 2012 21:02
This is exactly what a good boozer should be. Great beers; friendly staff and customers; no hassle; rolls available; papers and board games; clean and tidy buses nearby; a brisk walk from St.Denys station and handy for the football ground. Highly recommended.
mcroyal - 15 Apr 2012 11:21
Visited on Saturday night on the recommendation of this site. There were seven ales on and I had the Dark Star Hophead and the Flowerpots Goodens Gold, which were both good. Very nice friendly backstreet pub- if it was my local I wouldn't leave.
jagsfan - 23 Jan 2012 18:59
Absolute blinder of a drinking establishment. Best post-match venue.
jjsint - 1 Dec 2011 13:44
Fantastic pub. Stopped in on the way down to St Mary's (less said about that the better!). Had a few excellent pints of Mooerehouse Black Cat. Others in our group tried other ales, all very good. Decent group of locals and the service was excellent.
Alfnoax - 31 Oct 2011 12:40
Still excellent in every respect. There should be a pub like this in every street.
baxterfish - 26 Jul 2011 21:26
Wide selection of ales, welcoming bar staff, friendly natives.
Cliffwalker - 20 Apr 2011 19:22
A decent, honest back street boozer serving plenty of decent ales. I tried the Idle Black Abbot which was spot on. Probbaly the best pub in Southampton.
anonymous - 10 Apr 2011 11:30
In response to BARRY2772(below), the Guide Dog scores over the South Western on beer prices (50p lower on average) and a much friendlier welcome from the landlord and landlady who are nearly always present at the bar. The South Western is, of course, still a decent pub and has, to my knowledge and inexplicably, only missed one year(2009-2010) in the GBG in recent times.
baxterfish - 8 Jan 2011 08:53
Let's get the CAMRA thing over and done with "Closed in 1981, it reopened in 1984 as the Guide Dog after the previous landlady had raised 14,000 for the charity. Eight hand pumps serve a wide range of ales, mainly from small breweries. Beer can be served in four-pint carry-out containers and jugs. Within walking distance of St Mary's football stadium (1 mile), it gets busy on match days. It hosts a variety of charity events, has a weekly meat draw on Friday, and an annual autumn beer festival". This has made it into Britain's top 16 pubs and this one 'best in Wessex'. I think this says more about CAMRA than the pub. The South Western Arms is only 5 minutes away (and at long last in the guide) and to my mind a better pub but supposedly not rated as high as this. A bit like waking into somebody's front room with book shelves that you're actually meant to read the literature on. All the ales we sampled were in fine order. You'll need your sunglasses as energy bulbs have not caught on here. Yes it's a good pub and worth taking in on a mini pub crawl of an area that is the best for Real Ale in the City.
BARRY2771 - 27 Dec 2010 18:47
Excellent as ever, but wish they would turn the lights down a bit as it's very bright.
baxterfish - 15 Dec 2010 07:40
Hidden away in a back street, nothing much to look at from the street, and a fairly basic single-bar layout. However, on entering, you immediately notice that this is a proper beer-drinkers pub with an excellent selection of eight real ales chalked up on a couple of blackboards. The atmosphere is also warm and welcoming, with friendly staff and good-natured chat from the locals. My pint of Knights Porter from the Three Castles Brewery was first class and very reasonably priced at 2.60. I would happily have stayed to try a few more had time permitted, and you can see how it has regularly won the local CAMRA branch pub of the year. Not the easiest place to get to, but very much worth the effort.
rpadam - 9 Sep 2010 22:33
Still consistently good- in fact, still consistently excellent.
SotonAleDrinker - 27 Jun 2010 15:45
Continues to set the real ale standard for the rest of the City.
hillsidepaul - 7 Apr 2010 19:51
I just got back from Totnes (see The Bay Horse), and if the Guide Dog hadn't been here, I don't know where I would have gone to find a pint presented in the way the craft brewers intended. The landlord continues to serve perfect pint after perfect pint. Still 10/10.
RDJM - 28 Mar 2010 09:00
Never fails to impress. Southampton' finest.
baxterfish - 18 Feb 2010 23:25
Absolutely first class beer haven a little way outside Southampton City Centre. When I went in there were 6 ales on at the bar plus another 7 racked - for a festival maybe? The pint of El Dorado I had was in perfect condition and one of the most enjoyable pints I've had this year. What a pity I had to move on after that one, but I will most certainly be coming back again and again. Well worth making a special trip for.
ETA - 2 Nov 2009 07:05
baxterfish - 28 Oct 2009 00:55
This boozer is going from strength to strength. I can't think of anything missing that could make it better. Brilliant staff, great range of superbly well-kept beers, no TV, background music, daily papers and a welcoming clientele of locals. 10/10 - a benchmark.
RDJM - 14 Oct 2009 15:34
Fantastic ale pub tucked away down a side road. There were eight ales on offer on my visit and five or those were local brews. The four I sampled were all in great condition. The service was quick and friendly, despite a packed pub. Great place for a pre-match beer where home fans welcomed the travelling Colchester fans.
Rod_Hariga - 9 Sep 2009 22:52
Simply the best pub I have ever had the pleasure of drinking in! You will always be guaranteed an exceptional pint and at 2.60 its like stepping back in time! plus on a Friday there is always one on at 2.20 a pint! As for the pub itself its always full of friendly locals and its impossible not to be drawn into conversation out the back. Its also kept in immaculate condition, but be on your best behavior as verbal profanity will not be tolerated! P.S the landlady's famous filled rolls go down well on football days!!!
zatoichi - 9 Sep 2009 18:33
Also visited the 'Guide Dog' last Saturday having pulled a couple of names out of the CAMRA bible in advance of a football awayday. Loved the 'Goodens Gold', sausage rolls (of sorts) on the bar and friendly welcome from staff and locals. Don't be too phased by the rather run-down main road and surrounding area, this one is well worth seeking out.
LondonWolf - 9 Sep 2009 16:09
Excellent pub with friendly landlord and landlady and customers. The pub is happy to give tasters and advice if you require it. Eight handpumps, five of which had Camra LocAle surrounds which was great to see. Bowman Swift One, Flower Pots Perridge Pale & Goodens Gold, Tettning Red Ale, Hop Back Taiphoon, Ascot On The Rails & Alligator Ale and Fullers ESB. All the beer is marked on the large blackboard to the left of the bar with ABV and prices. Have to agree with the review below by a fellow travelling supporter. It is a very home supported pub but it is friendly to amiable visiting ale supporters. I also have to agree that Ascots On The Rails was the best and possibly only dark beer of the day. A variety of filled rolls are in a basket to the right hand side of the bar for a pound. A number of newspapers are available for customers to read. I even managed to meet a local BITE reviewer 'Guide Dog Saint'. Best pub of Saturdays visit to Southampton.
Love_good_ale - 7 Sep 2009 19:49
Superb boozer, a home fans pub but very friendly and mostly of a certain age (i.e not youngsters), quite comfortable to wear my Colchester shirt. Had the Flowerpot Perridge Ale, very light, hoppy and slightly floral. Also sampled the On The Rails, which again was around 3.8% but surprisingly dark and flavoursome probably the best pint of the day. Had one of the stronger Flowerpot range which was good but not as good as the other two sampled. 9/10
Monkdawallydahonk - 7 Sep 2009 10:23
I agree that this is indeed a superb pub, all about the beer and the beer alone, from the old GBG's dating back to the 90's to the ale descriptions chalked up on the board and leaflets and other beer related bits and pieces dotted around the place. Eight ales on with the TEA (from Hogs Back) simply sublime at 2.20 per pint. Beers from micro breweries were on such as Flowerpots in Cheriton and Bowmans, alongside ones from Fullers, Gale and Hop Back. Highly impressive and looking forward to the next visit.
Dandillus - 10 Jul 2009 22:30
Cracking pub with cracking people. Was afforded a welcome by the landlady who was keen to talk beer. The ales were Oakleaf Nuptu'ale and "I can't believe its not bitter",Irving Spinnaker,Fullers ESB,Cheriton Goodens,Bowmans Swift One,Milk St Iron Brew and Suthwyck Sunshine,which was on offer for 2.20! No dark ones though,but the landlord was fair in his summing up of the situation that quite correctly there is little demand when its 28 degrees outside. A job well done by all and well worth seeking out. Should have stayed for more and was sorry I didn't after the South Western experience.
an_ecunemical_matter - 4 Jul 2009 10:57
Popped in last Sat for the first time in ages since my move to the sticks.
Saw old friends and looking forward to Good Friday when I'll be in again. Tried Ascots Alligator Ale,Yeovils Ruby Ale, Goodens Gold and all the beer is as well kept as ever. A proper Pub & well done to Paul and Margaret.
dotball - 28 Mar 2009 09:08
Visited again post beer festival and have only posititves to describe the place, all ales were in great condition with a few from breweries i had not heard of and an interesting lemongrass beer!
guestale - 11 Feb 2009 19:13
Probably the best pub in Southampton by far.
afullpint - 5 Feb 2009 18:06
great pub, an example to all bidding chefs. a huge success

vera_shaw - 12 Dec 2008 15:56
We walked round in a big circle looking for this pub. It is worth finding. Fine ales, fruit beers and conversation are the specialities. An absolute gem.
GazzaTheBeerMan - 17 Nov 2008 11:58
Fantastic beer, well kept. Good crowd and the landlord & lady are just right for this classic local boozer. Worth travelling to visit for the beer range alone. 8 handpumps, all good.
RDJM - 12 Nov 2008 11:30
Very impressed with the recent beer festival, arround 20 ales on offer standing room only but good atmosphere and a good range of customers would like to visit another quieter time
guestale - 27 Oct 2008 13:36
ESB, Palmers200, Flowerpots Goodens Gold, Oakleak Holehearted, fff Moondance, Fullers Discovery, Bowman Swift One, Chesil (Dorset Brewing Co) had gone. A good list, although just one darker beer present and that (the Palmers) was on its way out this led to an unfortunate exchange, when it was politely returned, whereby the guvnor rolled his eyes and asked my mate if we were camra (were not, although we should be, but thats not the point) in what is obviously a proper real ale pub one would expect an off beer to be changed with rather more grace than that. To be fair, he did then change it and immediately turned the pump clip. Single room community local with overly busy carpet, regular pub furniture, dartboard above corner table. Overall a pleasant backstreet local with good beer choice, but one of the company less enamoured with his visit.
trainman - 29 Sep 2008 08:18
Now replaced the keg Honeydew with another cask beer. Also stock bottles of Maredsous.

Fullers ESB & Discovery, 1648 Bee-Head & Triple Champion, Altons Pride, Bowmans Swift One and Irving Type 42.

As good as ever.
GuideDogSaint - 21 Sep 2008 12:15
More or less perfect.
baxterfish - 21 Sep 2008 11:11
Consistently good pub with a good selection of beer & friendly staff. Highly recommended.
MagnustheMandrill - 8 Sep 2008 10:24
Certainly the best pub in Portswood/Bevois Valley, possibly the best pub in Southampton. South Hants Camra pub of the year for 2007 and 2008. The Swift One (Bowman Ales) was superb, Hampshire Beer of the Year 2008.
Alehouse_Brawler - 2 Aug 2008 12:22
Excellent place. Nice to see a good pub from the south coast appear in the top 40.
westie2 - 29 Jun 2008 00:17
Seems every time I go there the beer gets better and better.
earwig - 25 Jun 2008 17:46
Far and away the best pub in Bevois Valley if not Southampton.
baxterfish - 15 Jun 2008 15:37
I visit Southampton about once a year, but no trip would be complete without an evening in the Guide Dog. Aviod nights when the football is on (unless you like a bit of a buzz with your pint), as this is the pub of choice for the, shall we say, more mature supporter. Forget the loud, larger swilling youngsters, this is a beer drinkers pub. Well worth a visit, and certainly one of my top five UK pubs.
Pie_Eater - 21 Apr 2008 20:58
If we all had a Guide Dog pub within walking distance we would be there every night. It is a superb example of a real local pub with a wide range of very well kept beers and friendly people. I could take my Mum there and she would love it (I will when she visits next summer). I just wish I lived nearby.
IKMc - 19 Mar 2008 23:45
Perhaps I've just been lucky - but I keep finding really good pubs in Southampton! This particular example I found to be what I would call a perfect Saturday afternoon pub - quiet, but certainly not dead and spooky. It's cosy size and living-room feel certainly help give the place a friendly and laid-back feel. And the beer is good too.
Muzthing - 10 Mar 2008 23:38
Excellent little local with great beer from a variety of unusual ales.
baxterfish - 13 Dec 2007 17:08
Popped in for a quick Bowmans or three after work last Friday. Nice to be back in what in my humble opinion is the best Real Ale pub in Southampton. Always a good selection of beers and worth it for the Bowman beers alone. Beer Festival at the pub Friday and Saturday 26-27 October by the way.
FrattonBigBaz - 21 Oct 2007 19:35
I would nominate the Guide Dog asmy local despite living in Epsom! Brilliant range of well kept beer, only regular is ESB with 6 constantly changing. Rare not to pick up something new. Very friendly, all you could want in a "drinkers" pub.
GuideDogSaint - 25 Sep 2007 20:58
Although not the ONLY freehouse in Southampton (I agree you have to hunt high and low) the Guide dog is great to sample a fantastic range of beers from regional brewers. With a selection from Gosports Oakleaf brewery you can't go wrong!
lucywright - 17 Jul 2007 13:18
Since Paul took over,the beer has continued to go from strength to strength.A number of locals were worried when Sue & Nev left but their fears have been allayed by Lodden,Bowman & Oakleaf beer.The ONLY genuine Free House in Southampton.
dotball - 17 Jul 2007 11:07
Fantastic range of ales - 7 on when I was there on Saturday. As Southampton were playing away, the pub was fairly quiet, but it can be quite the reverse when the Saints are at home.
BillyD - 11 Apr 2007 11:54
Great range of beers good atmosphere friendly staff go there
Earlie - 1 Jan 2007 16:26
You won't get better real ale anywhere in Southampton. Pub itself is a bit small but is welcoming.
saintnick - 1 Jan 2007 12:44
One of the most genuine pubs in Southampton and the wide selection of cask conditioned beer is expertly kept. Pubs don't get much better than this. A real gem. 'nuff said.
IKMc - 25 Dec 2006 01:29
I lived opposide this pub and it was an absolute godsend. I watched England win the world cup in there. It's so nice, good tunes, great beer, chilled. Don't go in there wanting to meet a chick or anything, but cool to kick back after a hard days toil.
marcbolanboy - 9 Dec 2006 18:37
An unusual name, an unusually good pub for Southampton. It might look a little down-at-heel (some minor renovation would be a good idea) and full of locals but you cannot fault either the range and quality of its ales or the friendliness of the place. There's always a good atmosphere and the guarantee of something splendid to drink.
CJG - 26 Oct 2006 16:45
Popped in last night during a pub crawl and found it very difficult to leave. Hop Back Spring Zing and Downton's Brunel were both perfect. Looks like the new guv'nor will be maintaining the same high standards as his predecessor.
Rich66 - 16 Apr 2006 15:00
The pub has changed hands as of this week. 6 real ales on from Itchen Valley, Hopback and Downton breweries. I tried all six and "Pure Gold" from Itchen Valley was,well, Pure Gold...
grahamfbscott - 15 Apr 2006 13:39
Really nice local. Apparently likely to change hands soon, more's the pity.
Temperence - 18 Feb 2006 19:08
Nice backstreet local, cosy, friendly atmosphere, guv'nor very welcoming and enthusiastic about his beers. 5 or 6 handpumps serving ales from smaller local breweries; unfortunately post match crowds from Southampton v. Derby had cleaned out a couple of those available but had a couple of pints of Goddards Fuggle-de-dum in very good condition.

Doesn't open until 3pm on weekdays.
Rich66 - 5 Feb 2006 12:39
ok boozer
aberjed - 31 Dec 2005 19:44
A pleasant locals pub conveniently located a stone's throw away from the red-light district on Empress Road. So you can pay 20 to a crack addict for a blowjob, then pop over to the Guide Dog for a relaxing pint afterwards. Nice one!
DoctorEvil - 29 Oct 2005 11:28
Having made a considerable detour to make a visit I was disappointed to find it wasn't open (on a Monday luchtime). Is this a regular occurrance? Fortunately the nearby New Inn was an acceptable alternative (although the Bevois Castle was not!).

As it's clearly regarded as the best real ale pub in Southampton I'll definitely make another attempt when I'm in the area again.
Rich66 - 15 Jun 2005 01:39
The Guide Dog has been voted Southern Hampshire CAMRA Pub of the Year 2005.
anonymous - 13 Apr 2005 14:45
A true free house, specialising in real ales and priding itself on having a variety of different ales at any one time rather than just relying on standard favourites.
David Wealleans - [email protected] - 21 Feb 2005 16:53

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