Describing itself as the ‘finest ale house and kitchen in Southampton’, The Handle Bar seems to be living up to that description as it makes it onto a UK-wide Good Beer Guide.

CAMRA – The Campaign For Real Ale, has released The Good Beer Guide of 2022, with The Handle Bar making the cut. Out of 50,000 pubs across the country, only 4,500 made it onto the guide, including The Handle Bar.

Christian Astridge opened The Handle Bar in February 2020 with its concept being a small, intimate real-ale bar that served food, that also acted as a community pub. Unfortunately, The Handle Bar was forced to close two and a half weeks later due to the pandemic.

He said: “It’s good, it’s nice to have. I’ve been looking after beer and stuff for a little while in different pubs and learned about what’s right with real ale and what’s not. The thing is with real ale it will catch you out if it’s out for too long or rushed on and people will be able to tell, so you’ve got to keep it as best as you can and to be recognised for that in this short amount of time we’ve been open is great”.

Talking about local beer, he said: "Locally, I buy a lot of beer from Steam Town, from a guy called Dave Mackey. We always have at least one or two of his beers on offer daily, he’s a real good, solid brewer that covers all basis from low percent ales to stouts to reds. Flower Hobs is another brilliant one, Fallen Acorn, Red Cat, the list goes on.

“We’re quite lucky to have nice little local breweries here. We also get beer from outside of town, we get a batch from Twickenham in London once a month, Ascott brewery is another one we get fairly regularly. We’re just trying to keep it interesting for people when they come here because they know they could have come here two days ago and there’ll be a whole different line up of beer in a day or two days after that.”

The Good Beer Guide described itself as "the biggest and best book of pubs and breweries in Britain".

It includes thousands of recommendations from CAMRA volunteers across the country. The guide's “authors” have visited every pub personally and checked them out.

"Finding good pubs to drink in can be a bit of a nightmare," it added.

"It’s not just about beer, it’s also about the atmosphere."