A LEGENDARY Southampton boozer made a welcome comeback this week.

Sports pub The Painted Wagon has returned to West Marlands Road, decades after its namesake closed in the same location.

The new venue, which was about to open as Covid decimated the hospitality industry last spring, finally managed to serve its first pints on Tuesday to fans heading back to St Mary's for the first time in five months for the end of season clash with Leeds United.

They loved the intimate watering hole and its walls adorned with Saints memorabilia, football shirts, old programmes, images, caricatures and other artwork.

The Painted Wagon is the brainchild of Jason and Julianne Watling-McCarthy, the owners of neighbouring fringe theatre and live music venue The Stage Door.

Jason, who enjoyed his first ever pint in the first incarnation of The Painted Wagon shortly before its closure, is thrilled to bring the iconic pub back.

Jason told the Daily Echo: "We had a cake shop and a cafe downstairs before and sat down to decide what we should do with the place.

"When I was a young lad there was a really popular place called The Painted Wagon and I just thought, I'm going to try and bring The Painted Wagon back!

Daily Echo:

"That was two months before lockdown so it's been sat in mothballs for a year, but we're nervous and excited to finally be open. We have been gifted the most amazing memorabilia.

"We're a city that's always moving forward I think, so it's nice for once to remember and bring something like this back.

"We're not a big chain, we're a community pub. All are welcome and you could spend hours reading the walls!

"I love this city, I've spent most of my life here and my family have a great affinity with Southampton. I'm really proud to open The Painted Wagon here."

The boxing belt of Jason's brother, Southampton based former British light heavyweight champion Steve McCarthy, sits proudly on the wall of the bar.

His cousin Jason McCarthy, currently playing for Wycombe Wanderers, also features in pictures during his spell with Saints.

Lifelong Saints fan David Pinckney, who helped source much of the donated memorabilia, cut the ribbon to declare the pub open. An official ceremony, featuring Saints legend Francis Benali, will take place once restrictions ease.

Daily Echo:

The Painted Wagon boasts five giant screens showing BT Sport. All this summer's European Championships games will be screened live and Sky TV will be in place in time for the next Premier League season to get under way in August.

Football ground style pies are on the menu and the pub also boasts a jukebox and fruit machine.

Outdoors, you will find covered bench-style seating for 60 with heaters.

Over the years, the venue has also been known as The Soul Cellar, Petrovski's and The Wagon.

Daily Echo:

  • The Painted Wagon is our pub of the week. If you'd like us to feature your boozer, click on the link below.