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Beer of the Week (w/e 24th October 2021) with Mobyduck on the Pub Forum

The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon), Landport, Portsmouth

2 Guildhall Walk

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J D Wetherspoon
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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

The Isambard Kingdom Brunel is a substantial high-ceilinged long open plan Wetherspoons. I arrived just before midday on a recent Friday morning before the pub started to fill up with a lunchtime crowd. There were ten or so people standing at the long bar, but only two of the many staff were serving. This led to a wait of almost ten minutes. I later learned that a lot of customers were using the Wetherspoons app to be served at their tables, which explained why so many staff members were not actually serving people at the bar. I’m not sure I like this move to introduce table service. I counted 12 hand pumps in amongst a range of standard keg products. I opted for a pint of Fosters and a large full English, which set me back around £7.50 - excellent value for money.
This pub is raised up from street level so there are steps at all entrances. However, there is a wheelchair lift and a disabled toilet on the ground floor. The other toilets are located upstairs.
The wait was long and the atmosphere transient, but the prices were cheap. This is a good place to meet up before moving on somewhere else.

On 17th April 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3592 recommendations about 3572 pubs]

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Tris C left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

First time in a Portsmouth pub for 33 years: Up Pompeii!
Reportedly this was created in 1996 as the Apprentice Boy from former gas board offices (built 1915 and Listed), acquired and baptised as the current ‘spoons in 2006.
It is – certainly by Friday lunchtime standards – one of the quieter ‘spoons with some quite impressive interior details such as the dentil cornicing and classical capitals to the pilasters.
The pub wasn’t that full but service was very slow indeed and the ale choice was about the most spartan that I’ve experienced from this chain with only around four including Doom Bar. Still, with pints costing as little as £1.99 and the minimum midnight opening (1.00 am Fri/Sat), I’ll bet it’s popular with the students.

On 1st April 2019 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1174 recommendations about 1153 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

Visited this one, as is customary on an organised Pubs Galore crawl, as the initial meet up venue to commence proceedings and it is safe to say I had low expectations of the IKB as I approached, but it was quite impressive how both the pub and its fraught serving staff limbo danced under those expectations.
As others have said a fairly impressive 1915 exterior gives way to a bog standard ‘spoons interior with very little character outside of the high ceiling.
As also mentioned below the ale choice was a bit thin to start with and not then helped when my first choice of Welton brews just had air and froth coming out of the pump, indicating that it had clearly gone sometime before I requested it but none of the bar staff had bothered to reverse clip it. Fortunately, something did come out of the Welton’s Horesham Pale pump and it was indeed passable at £1.99 a pint.
Well, at least it meant the day could only go upwards from here…

On 1st April 2019 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1747 recommendations about 1693 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

A well positioned Spoons, close to the Railway Station and easy to find, so a handy spot for a group meet up. We arrived here just before noon on a Friday and seating space was already at a premium, as a lot of people had called in for a bite to eat. The service at the bar was difficult, so with some patience we went for Frome Brewery Funky Monkey and the Welton's Horsham Pale, both were decent enough and at £1.99 a pint, you can't complain. The main feature for me was the exterior of the building, the corner entrance and the coffered ceilings, along with columns.

On 31st March 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3012 recommendations about 3012 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

An impressive exterior and situated near the magnificent Guildhall,but the interior is very 'spoonish with lots of dining type tables and a bar that runs down most of one side.The high ceiling and large windows offer some character but the ale range over the two ranks of 6 handpumps contained a lot of doubling up ,leaving regulars GK IPA,Abbott and Doom Bar supplemented by guests Exe Valley Exeter Old Bitter,Welton Horsham Pale and Frome Brewing Funky Monkey (decent nick).Given that a 'spoons beer festival was meant to be on,this was a poor choice and the service was slow and chaotic,with inexperienced staff making all the usual mistakes.

On 30th March 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2175 recommendations about 2175 pubs]

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Graham Coombs left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

A large and quite splendid hall, as noted earlier, with the bar running along the back wall but a pretty standard big Spoon's otherwise. The selection of ales was adequate if not especially exciting and included a couple from Weltons. The place was pretty busy but service was frankly pretty poor.

On 30th March 2019 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2441 recommendations about 2386 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Aqualung . left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

I was here quite early on a Saturday morning with time to kill before getting a ferry so the place was quiet. As noted below it's a large high ceilinged room with all the usual fixtures and fittings.
The bar has two sets of six hand pumps with three in between which seemed to be partially covered by some signs as though they were a cause of embarrassment. The beer choice was quite frankly pathetic with the JDW Trio Of Doom, Otter Ale and Coach House Innkeepers Special doubled up, one available soon and Langham Arapaho. I spotted Oakham Green Devil IPA on keg so went for that (£3.49). The standard guest ale price here is £2.45.
I'd pop in again if passing to see if the Green Devil was still here but if it wasn't would probably walk out.

On 17th October 2016 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2143 recommendations about 2143 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

This is Wetherspoon’s flagship pub in Portsmouth, located at one end of the city’s mercifully short binge-drinking strip in a fine building that previously housed the Portsmouth and Gosport Gas Company’s offices, and named after the city’s most famous son. A visit to Portsmouth generally tends to involve passing this place at one point or other, thanks to its proximity to the central train station and attractive Guildhall. A small pavement seating area to the front allows you to take in the view towards the Guildhall, albeit from an unfavourable angle. Steps lead you up through a grand corner entrance into a large, high ceilinged room, the front part of which sees uniform rows of standard seating and a few high tables before the servery eventually appears along the left hand wall. The bar has a nice dark wood counter and bar back, and is split mid way by a large, wood-clad pillar. More of these pillars appear further into the room, each topped with highly decorative lion’s head capitals which poke out above the cumbersome modern cladding. The rear space is split-level, with more standard seating in the lower carpeted section to the left, whilst high tables and stools give way to the raised laminate floored rear space. To the right there is a bookcase with the top shelf filled with old beer bottles, whilst to the rear there is a pleasant fireplace and a few stained glass features on the ceiling. Given the pub’s location in the main drinking street and the afternoon’s pre-season fixture at Fratton Park, I was expecting quite a lively atmosphere, but it turned out to be one of the more civil Wetherspoons I’ve been to in recent memory – even all the TV screens were turned off.
The beer situation was slightly disappointing, with three ‘Spoons regulars doubled up on the hand pumps and three guest ales and six festival ciders using up the remaining handles. I tried a beer called Belgarum from the local Itchen Valley brewery, which was served fairly promptly in good condition and I had some of the typically no-frills food which, as always, was with me in no time at all.
Despite being a large, drinking barn-style venue, I quite liked it in here and enjoyed watching a good mix of customers come and go and a bustling bar scene. It does suffer a bit from the concessions it has made to cope with high volumes of weekend evening trade and perhaps lacks the ‘wow’ factor you might expect from such a building, but I’d rate this as a solid central option for a decent pint.

On 18th August 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2607 recommendations about 2607 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

Housed in an impressive building it fails to live up to once inside,it is in fact the usual formula JDW template,It was however rammed so what do I know?Well I know having looked at the 14 handpumps of which the most impressive offering available was Purity Mad Goose, which is ok and Darkstar Hophead and Oakham JHB unfortunately tagged as coming soon there was little else of interest, mostly all usual suspects, there seemed to be a queuing system in place and quite frankly I couldn't be bothered.

On 29th February 2016 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1430 recommendations about 1415 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about The Isambard Kingdom Brunel (JD Wetherspoon)

An attractive solid looking building close to the architecturally impressive Guildhall. Rather bland inside however as is often the case with this chain, more could have been done to retain some grandeur although some impressive ceiling cornices and column pilasters remain. Open plan, crammed in tables, one area had a bookcase which helps to add a bit of interest. A stair curves upwards to the facilities.
Lots of handpumps but not a great deal of choice, apart from the usual suspects there were only three or four that I would call guests, generally doubled up. Sluggish service too. There was a graduation ceremony going on in The Guildhall, attended by hundreds of graduates and their families, most needing to be fed and watered, seems to me they were missing a trick here.

On 16th July 2015 - rating: 5
[User has posted 1689 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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