A HAMPSHIRE watering hole known for its large platters and student discounts is getting itself prepared for this year's Rugby World Cup.

The Exchange, in Southgate Street, is a popular haunt for students and sports-lovers alike who are spoiled for choice with the seven TVs this place boasts.

And if that was not enough, the pub has just launched a new menu to celebrate, as well as giving its outdoor area a mini-makeover with new covered sails for the smokers.

There's not a Champions League match this place doesn't show as they welcome in the university lot as well as their locals who pack in together for a pint and a burger to watch the Saints play.

Hannah Simpson, who has been working as an assistant manager at the pub for more than 12 years, says it's the people who make the pub's friendly chilled-out vibe what it is.

"It's a very local bar," she says. "It's very sporty, with a good local clientele base. The staff and customers get on very well. It's very laid back with a nice atmosphere to work in and, because it's not a chain, it's doesn't have that corporate feel which you get with some places."

The Exchange is one of two pubs owned by local landlord Colin Clarke, who also owns the William Walker and, until last year, owned Alfie's in The Broadway.

But this pub's biggest draw is the fact it's one of only a few city centre watering holes with a good-sized beer garden.

"It's south-facing with the sun all day, so even when it's raining, because of the new sails, there's some cover for the smokers as well," Mrs Simpson added.

And if it's not the garden that's drawing people in from the bustling street it might have something to do with the portions.

The popular burgers fly out of the kitchen, Mrs Simpson says, including their special 'belly buster'. Homemade burgers and hotdogs costing from £7 to £9.50. Other mains include chilli con carne, scampi and hunter's chicken, from £7 to £8, nachos and sharing platters cost between £4.50 to £12. Salads are £8, baguettes and paninis are between £5 to £6.25. Their new menu includes the curry Mondays, £10 for a curry and a pint; chilli Wednesdays and student Thursdays.

A pint of lager ranges in price from £3.70 for a Fosters to £4.20 for Heineken. Ales change regularly, this week they have Long Blonde and Doombar on for £3.70.

Wines start at £3.20 for a 125ml glass and £13.50 for a bottle, they serve Pinot Grigio, Merlot and rose. Spirits start at £3.40 a shot, soft drinks cost £2.40 for a pint, juices are £1 a bottle or £1.30 for a half pint.