THE atmosphere at this Southampton pub is so warm and welcoming that it hits you before you even set foot inside the door.

Approaching the main entrance to the Juniper Berry, the roars of laughter seep through the windows and under the cracks in the door, giving you a small taste of what’s to come.

The pub’s landlord Mick McCarthy and his wife, Anita, have created a real family atmosphere, retaining the values of a good old fashioned pub.

By Mick’s own admission, it is a “wet pub,” serving only drinks and bar snacks.

So, if a cheap bite to eat at a gastro-pub is what you’re looking for, this isn’t the place for you.

But if you want a bar with chatty and friendly locals, reasonably priced drinks and a comfortable setting, you won’t find too many better than this.

The McCarthy’s have cleverly managed to retain the history of the building, which was the former site of Jane Austen’s house, while adding a few subtle modern touches, including a pool table and leather sofas.

And one more noticeable change was the restoration of its original name, after it was renamed Bosuns Locker for the best part of a decade.

“This was always known as the Juniper Berry,” Mick said. “When we took it over we decided to change it back because of the public demand for it.

“We took it over five years ago and to a large extent we buck the trend now. We turn over a lot of barrels for a local pub.

“It’s just a good old fashioned boozer.”

And it wouldn’t be old fashioned without a ‘happy hour,’ which the Juniper Berry holds every weekday between 2.30pm and 7.30pm, with draught pints, wines and house doubles on offer for £2.70.

With karaoke nights on a Sunday and a function room catering for 100 people, the pub looks set to continue bucking the trend.

  • The Juniper Berry, Castle Square, Upper Bugle Street, Southampton
  • 023 8033 3364