IT IS a popular town centre pub riding high on a host of prestigious accolades.

The Golden Lion in the High Street, Fareham has just been put in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide and its landlords have also been given the title “Master Cellarman” by brewery Fullers for the way they keep and serve their pints.

But landlady Diane McEwen, who has been running the pub for four years with her husband Douglas, says that it has taken a lot of hard work to get the pub to where it is today.

She said: “When we first got here there was very little business and it was a very male-orientated pub.

“It was very very difficult when a pub has a reputation to try and change that reputation.

“But three-and-a-half years down the line it really started to take off.

“It’s now winning awards for this, that and the other and we’re turning people away for lunchtimes and dinner – which is a fantastic situation at a time when a lot of pubs are suffering.”

The Grade II listed building also has a fascinating history.

It was built in 1790 by Stephen Barney, who is famous for being the Recorder at the Mutiny on the Bounty Trial at Portsmouth in the late 1700s.

He had previously built the nearby Lysses House in Fareham, having torn down the White Horse pub because the site offered the best views in the town.

There was such uproar from drinkers about the loss of the pub that he agreed to build one on the opposite side of the road – and the Golden Lion was constructed.

Along with being well known for its good beer, the pub also works out of a “postage-stamp sized kitchen” to create a very popular and traditional menu.

Diane says that it is the level of service that sets it apart from other pubs.

She said: “Everybody who walks though our door gets greeted and everyone who goes out we say thank you to.

“We try not to differentiate between a local and a visitor – everybody should get the same service.”