The Green Man, Winchester
Muddy says: You’ll love this quirky city-centre pub with its glorious, knowing interior: part Rovers Return gorblimey boozer, part eccentric Country House, and its focus on Hampshire food.
There’s no mistaking this snug drinkery’s spit-and-sawdust origins, nor is it hard to imagine peaked-cap chappies winking from the bar.
This is Winchester, after all, where the past is still present.
Local restaurateur, Jayne Gillin’s interior is a glorious, and knowing, mash-up: part Rovers Return gorblimey boozer; part eccentric Country House, all wooden beer-pulls, heavy brocade, gramophones and an antelope’s head.
Expect hipster beards behind the bar and The Hot 8 Brass Band’s cover of Sexual Healing on the speakers (find it on Youtube, THE best party tune).
Being a city pub downstairs space is at a premium.
Proper dining takes place upstairs, so if you’re after a sit-down meal then ask to go there.
If, however, you fancy a bottle of wine and nibbles then downstairs feels like a cosy pub-of-old with enough people to create a buzz but no shouting, loud music, or bar queues (nor, erm, space for my zimmer-frame).
There are a few more private banquettes on the other side of the bar, I’d ask for one when booking if you want a quiet, private chat.
Elsewhere, there’s a small covered space for drinks before eating in The Outhouse — a private area boasting chrome signage, brick walls and a long trestle-table for proper, dig-in-and-eat communal dining.
The Green Man also caters for quirky, off-beat wedding parties and The Outhouse is a great space for creatives to meet and erm, create.
The menu reflects the eating space.
There’s a decent list of sharing boards including mezze and charcuterie plus more traditional mains with a twist: chorizo mousse stuffed corn-fed chicken with potato and almond salad, or the 8oz. Picanha steak with Chimichurri salsa.
The drinks list feels fresh and emphasises the quirky and local, from Twisted Nose Gin distilled with Alresford watercress and lavender; to Danebury’s English Sparkling Wine, grown and produced only minutes down the road.
As you might have guessed, The Green Man is not the place for young children: a toddler could do serious damage to the glass chandeliers and squeezing a buggy downstairs would bring much finger-wagging from Mr Health and Safety.
So switch off the office email, wipe Peppa Pig from living memory and use the pub as a base to gorge on some seriously grown-up culture: food, wine, film, literature, history, architecture… we are in central Winchester after all. Lap it up while you can.
All images courtesy of Little Pub Group.