Sunday 18th October 2015
This was a first-time visit and I didn’t realise that the Ale House would be a micropub, yet it certainly is, with seating for around fifteen patrons. To compensate there was a reasonable amount of standing space, but it is still very, very small. I was with Linda and we were travelling around the island using the annual Beer & Buses event for our transportation. This is when a frequent service of preserved buses (over 50 involved) operate routes to and from a lot of the island’s best pubs.
We had around fifty minutes break between buses at Newport Quay we so nipped up to the town centre to visit this pub.
It was well before 12.00 on a Sunday morning yet they had advertised that they would be open early this day. Well, only just as the lady in charged explained that they had experienced such a busy day on the Saturday, they were still going through the process of opening up the pub.
Anyway, there wasn’t long to wait, so we were soon supping beers. She apologised for the lack of locally-brewed examples as they were all sold the day before. Actually, she might not have noticed that there was still one island beer on the stillage. There was nevertheless a choice of five different cask beers to be tried, all served directly from the barrel. It was at this moment when a number of people we knew came in, including Heather and “Nobby” Clarke from Whitstable, Kent.
The beers on offer that day were: Black Sheep (Masham, North Yorkshire) Golden Sheep (3.9%); Otter Brewery (Honiton, Devon) Otter Ale (4.5%); Abbeydale (Sheffield, South Yorkshire) Dr Morton’s Chicken Vindaloo (4.1%), a blonde ale; Clark’s (Wakefield, West Yorkshire) Atlantic Hop (4.0%) and finally the local Goddard’s (Ryde, Isle of Wight) Fuggle de Dum (4.5%). Ciders are advertised outside but on recollection, I don’t remember seeing any inside, maybe there were some.
The pub was opened on June 15th 2011 and is the idea of Debbie and Mark Ridett. It is in a building that has seen many uses over the years. It appears to have been built as stables and housing for carriagemen and ostlers.
Giving credence to this is the inscription on the lintel over the entrance to the yard that is “Read’s Posting Establishment. It is the smallest pub on the island.
It was built in the early 19th Century and has two sections either side of the entrance. It’s Grade II listed and the right side seems to have been used as the Ale House shop once. Since its initial use, the main part has been used an undertaker’s coffin storage area and hairdressing saloon.
It’s been very successful; so much so, that Debbie and Mark have opened the Cowes Ale House which is the second smallest island pub.
There are a few steps up into the pub and we turned right into the room. Inside we found the bar counter on our left with the stillage located behind. There are a few stalls at the bar counter.
In the room the walls have waist-height varnished wood panelling. The light floods in through windows on two sides that are draped with red curtains. Several of the seats are stuffed red leather armchairs that look very comfortable, probably too much so. There are artefacts on the walls including a framed Mew Langton brewery poster.
The food offered here is from a larger range than you would expect from a usual micropub. Yet, as it to be found in a town with a lot of visitors, this is to be expected. There are hot Steak & Ale and Chicken pies, cold pork pies and scotch eggs. Also offered are cheese and meat platters, jacket potatoes, various filled rolls, toasted sandwiches and soup of the day. Of course, there are the usual packaged snacks.
They offer live music on Sunday afternoons. I can’t imagine where the artists perform, so I guess they are of the “two guys with guitars” variety. In conclusion, this is a great little pub to visit and you shouldn’t miss it if you are on the island.
The Newport Ale House, 24B Holyrood Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 5AZ
Tel: 07791 514668
Hours: Monday-Thursday 12.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00; Sunday 12.00-22.30
The pub is a few minutes walk from the High Street and Bus Station, so is easily found.
Being the centre point of the Isle of Wight and its largest town there are bus services from all over including direct connections from the ferry ports of Ryde, Cowes and Yarmouth.