RIGHT at the heart of the Woolston community in Southampton is the Obelisk Hotel pub which hopes to become a hub for families in the area.

An unmissable building, the Obelisk is a large venue which has been in the area for decades.

Owned by Enterprise, the Birmingham-based brewery, manager Marie Cartland oversees a staff force of four.

Taking over the role in December last year, the 43-year-old said she wanted the pub to appeal to families rather than large crowds.

“When we took over this pub, we thought that the best idea to make it a family friendly establishment.

“The pubs around the area are always doing music events and quizzes, we wanted to appeal to a completely different clientele. We want to offer a place where families feel comfortable and welcome.”

She added: “The pub used to have a really bad reputation but now we make sure that none of that trouble comes anywhere near the pub.

“We will go to all lengths to prevent the reputation of the pub being what it was before, even if that means losing profits by making certain punters leave.

“There is no point in being soft.”

The building has been a working pub since 1850. It no longer works as a hotel but has kept the name ‘Obeselisk Hotel’ because of it’s history.

Renovation work has recently been completed and photos show that the pub is a lot lighter as a result.

The Brewery first refused to help with the renovation costs but noticed the change in the pub and changed its mind. Enterprise have paid for new tiles in the toilets, paving in the garden and the pub signs.

With trade mostly coming from drinks sales, they plan to extend their food menu. Maria cooks roast dinners on a Sunday and breakfasts over the weekends.

But the landlady hopes to extend this to a basic weekday lunch and dinner menu.

Along with the usual beers and lagers, they stock one guest ale per month. The bar staff speak to the customers and ask which lagers they want to try, they also base the choice on events happening around the time. A recent ale which has been chosen is the Spitfire and the George’s Dragon ale.

An ‘action club’ for children will be run at the pub and they also plan to hold mother and baby coffee mornings.

Maria has worked in the pub trade for years and has always had the dream of owning her own pub. Her husband, Dave, previously worked in the Aerospace industry but retired to help run the pub.

She said that the support of the local people has been really great and that she is now able to see a bright future for the Obelisk Hotel.