It had been a wonderful day visiting P&O Oceana and now it was time to relax over a pint. My companion Richard suggested a couple of pints before I boarded my train home to London. “I know a great pub” he said and off we went onto Commercial Road, Southampton. “Where’s the pub?” I asked and he pointed to the other side of the road. All I could see was an office block and a church. As we drew nearer I saw that the church had a notice above its door with the words “The Vestry”.
We entered the door and I was immediately in awe of such a wonderful interior. This was originally the St. Peters Church built between 1845 and 1846 by O.B. Carter in a Neo Norman design. On the 14th July 1953 it became a Grade 2 listed building. It was later turned into a pub/restaurant. The current owners have had it fully re-furbished and a fantastic job has been done with it. It now has a modern interior whilst retaining the main church structure. Very clever concept.
There are two floors. The ground floor houses a large bar where they serve all types of Lagers, Beers and Wines. On the wall behind the bar is a huge mural of a bygone age that adds to the elegance of the venue. I had an excellent pint of Greene King IPA that had been well kept and was served in a first class manner by a barman who so obviously cared about his customers. The rest of the ground floor is taken up by tables accompanied by comfortable chairs and couches. There are areas where you can stand talking with friends whilst there are pedestals to place your drinks on. There are large windows together with pastel coloured walls which keep the area light and airy.
The first floor is in fact a balcony edged with wrought iron balustrades topped with beautiful varnished wooden hand rails. There are stained glass windows still with the images of the cross and saints on them. The high wooden ceiling with its wooden beams really makes for something different. All that appears to be added are the windows set into the roof elevation for extra light and the ceiling fans. Tables are set out ready for customers with shiny cutlery, sparkling glasses and white napkins. What a great place for dinner on that special occasion.
I did not sample the restaurant but certainly will next time. There is an extensive menu with many mouth watering temptations at what can only be described as reasonable prices. This can be found on the Vestry web site at: http://www.thevestryrestaurantandbar.co.uk/
This is one place that I am really looking forward to visiting on my next Southampton trip. Thank you Richard for an introduction to a pub with a difference.