WHEN you walk into the Freemantle Arms it’s almost like walking into a friend’s living room.

Pam Pearce and her husband Robert greet the regulars by name, know their birthdays, favourite drinks and consider many of them family rather than customers.

“The Freemantle Arms is a proper old pub; we have people from all walks of life come into the venue.

“It is a real community pub and everyone that visits calls it their little secret,” said the landlady, who previously ran a restaurant in Southampton called Burlington Berties.

Pam and Robert were previously regulars themselves, at the pub located on Albany Road in Southampton, before they moved to Normandy in France.

But after deciding that they missed the hustle and bustle of British life, the couple returned to Southampton and have now been running the pub for almost seven years.

The hidden gem offers a quaint escape from the busy Shirley High Street, which is a five-minute walk away.

It offers a selection of real ales including Doom Bar, Flower Pots and Goodins Gold.

Beers average at £3.65 and wines, spirits, lagers and ciders are also available.

Twice a year the pub also holds a charity auction for the Piam Brown Ward at the Southampton General Hospital.

Last weekend the venue raised £1,132.50 and hopes to raise even more in their second auction on August 28.

The venue is decorated with vintage pictures of Shirley dating back more than 100 years.

This year the pub will feature in The Good Beer Guide, a book published annually by the Campaign for Real Ale.

“We were really pleased and delighted to feature in the guide. Robert and I work really hard to ensure that we offer great beer and service.

“He manages the cellar and I look after the front of house. Both are fundamental for a good pub,” said Pam.

The venue does not offer food, although it does hold some summer barbecues in its sun-trap garden.

On May 27 and 28 the venue will host a beer festival were visitors can try new beverages.

Punters' point of view:

Gordon Wallis, 56, engineering instructor from Regents park, said: “It is a very friendly pub, where you can have a good laugh. There is never any trouble here and the beer is delicious especially the Doom Bar.”

John the Lock, 67, retired from Freemantle, said: “The landlord and lady always greet you with a welcome. They are charming people, who make you feel at home.You can walk in and never feel uncomfortable.”

Jayne Russell, 54, unemployed from Regents Park, said: “Its the only pub I have ever walked into on my own, as a woman it can be intimidating. I have even sat down and had a drink on my own. I can leave my purse and pop outside and I know it will be safe.”