If the merits of a pub are judged by its ties to the local community, then the March Hare pub in Harestock must be near the top of the pile in Winchester.
Located in the middle of an old army housing estate in Priors Dean Road, Harestock, it caters to a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
Tracey Easton, the manageress, is in her second spell running the pub, having originally been in charge between 1998 and 2006, before being asked to come back by owner Mike Sinker, a local pub entrepreneur, in late 2008.
She said: “When Mike asked me to come back, the pub wasn’t doing too great and all the hard work I had put in before looked like it was going down the pan and it made me want to go back.”
Tracey’s return was popular amongst customers and employees alike. Jude Black, who works behind the bar, said: “I love working with Tracey. She is really helpful and looks after me.”
It may not have as much of a history as some of the pubs in the area, but The March Hare in is certainly focused on the future. The pub is currently the only place to see 3D sport in Winchester, and features a variety of games across the sporting spectrum every weekend.
The March Hare also seems to have one of the most active community bases as well, housing multiple clubs and teams.Along with being the base of the Harestock Harriers football team, winner of last seasonss North Hampshire Cup, the pub is also home to two darts teams, two pool teams and a golf society.
The pub has always been used as a function venue for events like wedding and christening receptions, work parties, live bands and music and more recently, baby showers.
Tracey said: “Functions are something we have always done but we can do it a lot more now because we have the extension.”
But the local community remains central to the pub’s ethos. Charlie Smart, who works for Apex Care, a company specialising in care of the elderly and disabled, said the pub always provides a warm welcome. He said: “The staff here are really good. I have been bringing clients here for ten years and the welcome is second to none. They always make people here feel very special.”
Looking to the future, Tracey said she was hoping the pub could move into the breakfast trade and she was also hoping to start a pub quiz.
The pub serves a wide selection of ales and beers and is open from 12 noon to 11pm on Sunday to Thursday, and 11am until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Call 01962 622004 for more information on any clubs or future events.
Joseph Curtis The March Hare, Priors Dean Road, Harestock, Winchester, Hampshire, SO22 6JN. Tel: 01962 622004.