A SOUTHAMPTON pub has been recognised as one of the city’s best by the Hampshire branch of a national campaign group.

The Bookshop Alehouse, in Portswood Road, only opened a little more than a year ago, but it is already leaving a lasting impression on the community.

The local is regularly packed out by punters who delight in tasting a variety of local and national beers and ciders.

It has now been recognised by Southern Hampshire Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which named it as its ‘Pub of the Year 2017’.

The Alehouse, which is owned by partners Jon Harris, 40, and Charlie Sunley, 36, opened in February last year and, as its name suggests, doesn’t just sell beers.

The venue used to be Peter Rhodes Books before Jon and Charlie gained planning permission for its change of use in December 2015.

However, in keeping with the building’s history, the pub continues to sell books as well as a selection of ales.

Jon, who moved to the city from Farnborough ten years ago, said: “We are different from traditional pubs as we are a converted shop.

“All of the micro-pubs across Southampton are different as they reflect the personality of the owners and communities they are in.

“Winning this title is a really nice thing to have happened - it’s a massive compliment.

“It’s also testament to the staff we have had working here and all the smaller, new breweries we have put our trust in.”

Currently the pub is manned by five members of staff, and offers eight beers and four ciders which it changes regularly to keep its customers’ tastebuds interested.

Jon praised the pub’s customers, adding: “I only provide the space but it’s the people coming through the doors who make it what it is.”

He also revealed plans to expand the premises: “We have another space which we will hopefully develop into an events space and provide additional seating.

“From there, who knows what the future holds.”

Customer Sonia Emmer-Robson, a healthcare assistant from Portswood, said: “We were waiting 18 months for this pub to open and we were not disappointed. It is now our adopted home.

“It sells an excellent range of beers and has a great atmosphere - what’s not to like!”

Southern Hampshire CAMRA chairman Deric Payne described the Alehouse as a “lovely little micro-brewery” with a “nice range” of ales.