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

South Western Arms, St Denys, Southampton

40 Adelaide Road
SO17 2HW
Phone: 02380324542

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Pub SignMan left this review about South Western Arms

Handily located outside the main entrance to St Denys station, the South Western is a nice, spacious two storey pub with a reputation for good beer. The ground floor area sees a single bare boarded room that has apparently been opened out somewhat over the years from a former multiple room format, as evidenced by many sturdy wooden pillars and sections of bare brick partitioning walls. An L-shaped servery fills the rear right corner of the room with its dark wood counter and bar back plus a canopy lined with bull's horns, US car license plates, deer antlers and various bits of breweriana. On entering, you pass a raised seating space to the left where pew and chair seating has been arranged around a nice fireplace, with a signed England football shirt on the wall and some huge potted plants for a bit of colour. To the right, partly hidden by one of the aforementioned partitioning walls, there is a similar seating area with a corner shelving unit holding old editions of the Good Beer Guide and an unusual fenced off area protecting a cellar door, which perhaps suggests that the servery used to be situated here. The main part of the room has dark floorboards and ceiling, with the beams decorated with loads of old and new pump clips. A reproduction(?) 1870 Kensington Station clock hangs opposite the bar and there is a large vertical drinking area to the left of the servery with just the one lone high table in the back left corner, near the juke box. An acoustic guitar hung from the wall here hints at live music performances and there are loads more pump clips on show back here. The gents toilets are a veritable treasure trove for fans of Marvel comics, the walls having been papered with pages from various editions. To the rear, a door leads out to a surprisingly smart, well presented garden with nice trellis plants and plenty of good quality seating. Stairs near the bar lead up to a first floor seating area which I failed to explore.
There are ten handpulls on the bar, offering Theakston Lightfoot, Bowman Swift One, Adnams Ghost Ship, Draught Bass, Downton Quadhop and Mad Hare, Exmoor Stag and Old Rosie cider, with two off on arrival, but soon in action dispensing Hop Back Summer Lightning and Wight Gold - good work by the bar staff on a busy football day. My pint of the Swift One was in good nick and plenty of ale seemed to be flowing in the lead up to the match, with the pub never getting uncomfortably busy.
This pub has rightly been viewed as one of the top ale houses at this end of town for many years and continues to offer an excellent range of well kept beers to a seemingly appreciative crowd. The introduction of two top class micropubs within easy walking distance may have made this place slightly less indispensable but it remains a fine place to enjoy a few drinks and should be on the target list for anyone heading to this part of town.

On 6th May 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2607 recommendations about 2607 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Moby Duck left this review about South Western Arms

Only had a quick five minutes in here due to the imminent homeward bound train arrival so I failed to note all the beers on offer,I thought I counted 10 handpumps although the general consensus in previous reviews appears to be for 9, anyhow there were 7 or 8 on and I had an OK Bowmans Eldorado and I also saw Bowmans Swift One, the other beers have sadly already faded from my memory.There was time to briefly take in the surroundings which of course were exactly as described by Malden man some four months before me. I would have liked to have stayed longer but brief a visit as it was it was long enough to realise this is a proper pub.

On 14th August 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1430 recommendations about 1415 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about South Western Arms

Another fine pub in an area of fine pubs, I left this one to last being close to the station although I do wish I had the time to do The Dolphin across the tracks but a virtually 90 minute gap in connecting trains meant that was a no. A boarded sort of T-shape downstairs room with lots of exposed brickwork, ceiling beams liberally covered in pump clips and with railway, road and ship's lights dangling. There is a full wall photo of an old Victorian slum terrace not sure if this is local, wall mounted 30s radios, porcelain sherry casks, an angled bookcase with some old volumes and board games plus a selection of marked beer glasses. Stairs lead up to a mezzanine style upper bar where there is a pool table and United States car licence plates on the walls. The rear has a nice beer garden which being walled is probably a warm sunny spot in summer despite the trains going past.
Nine handpumps, seven were on, Bowman Swift One plus Lapwing, Bristol BF Seven, Hop Art Red Cap, Plain Ales IPA plus Inntrigue, and Dorset Brewing Co Yachtsman. They don't do meals as I understand but there was a van outside selling pizzas.
A great last pub to finish off my mini afternoon crawl around the area. Next time SW Trains do the £15 deal I may well be back for some unfinished business.

On 21st April 2016 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1689 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The South Western Arms

A fairly run-of-the-mill exterior gives way to an interior that is quite unexpected, a higgledy-piggledy place that is done up somewhere between a hunting lodge and Wild West tavern. Stripped wood, exposed brickwork and a wooden gantry mezzanine feature. Seemingly staffed by a pair of affable eccentrics who looked like they'd be at home backstage at the Glastonbury festival (and given the live music advertised, maybe that’s no coincidence). Items of note included darts, a feature wall painting, bookshelves, board games, free Wi-Fi and general ephemera. Classic rock music through the speakers which suited the vibe nicely. Best surprise was the wonderful rear garden with well-tended wall beds and a water feature. Beer-wise there were six available over nine pumps (I think). Moorhouse Blonde and Goddards were both in good nick. Also available was an impressive selection of bottled world beers. Bar snacks included pickled eggs and onions at very reasonable prices. A very enjoyable visit and I’d make a beeline for this one next time I’m in Southampton. With the sublime Guide Dog only ten minutes away, a crawl in this area is a sure-fire winner.

On 24th September 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 4155 recommendations about 4142 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The South Western Arms

A very fine beer-orientated pub with traditional furniture and decor in the split-level interior. More seating upstairs and outside in the patio beer garden to the rear. Nine of ten handpumps on when I visited, offering Bowman Swift One, Yachtsmans Ale, Mudskipper, Betty Stoggs, Crop Circle, Summer Lightning, Pride of Pendle, Weltons Export Stout (£3.60) and Old Rosie. Handy for St Denys station, and well worth seeking out. (NB - Review dates from August 2012.)

On 9th March 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 6546 recommendations about 6546 pubs]

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BARRY TAYLOR left this review about The South Western Arms

A classic! This place has won so many awards I think they stopped putting them up. You can't get any closer to a railway line and you can sit in the beer garden and hear the trains as they go to London & Portsmouth past St Deny's. In the garden is an old pub sign for 'Nellies Nob' which gives the pub its local nick name. The selection of beer is almost unrivaled. There are 12 pumps, and at its peak, each one served a different beer, Now there are seven beers and if you go to one of their beer festivals you're in for a delight. Add to this an area upstairs with Pool and a TV and you're in pub 'heaven'. Very much the locals bozzer for this small area of Southampton, let the train take the strain and give yourself a treat.

On 29th December 2010 - rating: 10
[User has posted 42 recommendations about 35 pubs]

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Chris 87 left this review about The South Western Arms

This excellent, spacious pub is ideally located next to St Denys railway station so you can sup until the very last moment before rolling onto the platform. It has a split-level layout and the interior is a mixture of original brickwork and dark wood furnishings, surrounding one bar in the corner. During my midweek, evening visit it progressively got busy with a mixture of regulars and curious punters such as our party, who after ordering our beers got stuck into the worst game of arrows in history on the well located dart board. Ale-wise you really have a generous selection here, including on my inspection Andwell Gold Muddler, Ringwood Old Thumper, Hogs Back HOP, Traditional Scottish Blonde Ale and Sharp's Doom Bar amongst others. Southampton doesn't have many truly high quality pubs but this is certainly one of them.

On 30th December 2009 - rating: 8
[User has posted 179 recommendations about 179 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

James Smith left this review about The South Western Arms

Good Real Ale Pub

On 4th September 2006 - rating: 8
[User has posted 16 recommendations about 16 pubs]