Overdraft – 383 Shirley Rd, Southampton SO15 3JD
Overdraft has two locations locally (this being one, the other in nearby Winchester). They’ve made the best of what appears a lot like a shop unit from the street, with an exposed approach to the decor inside. There’s space in the bar area for up to 10 cask ales and 10 kegs on draft so is worth the trek out to see what’s on tap, despite no sign of bottles and cans. If you’re visiting on a Tuesday be sure to take advantage of their 2-4-1 offer on tacos!
The Butcher’s Hook Alehouse – 7 Manor Farm Rd, Southampton SO18 1NN
In terms of selection The Butcher’s Hook Alehouse in Bitterne more than delivers, despite its relatively small size. At peak times you may find it difficult to get a seat, or even in the door, but it’s worth trying to ensure you don’t miss out on this essential Southampton stop. All of their cask, keg, bottles and cans are listed clearly on a chalkboard to allow you to easily peruse everything on offer. Be sure to take a group photo using the digital screen on the wall, it’s only £1 and money raised is donated to charity.
Caskaway Tasting Rooms – 47 Oxford St, Southampton SO14 3DP
Caskaway Tasting Rooms, located near Southampton’s Ocean Village district, claims to be the city centre’s first micropub. Their collage wall of pump clips from past beers on tap is a fitting tribute to the consistently high calibre of brews that have passed through this nautical themed bar. Caskaway offers table service and has additional seating in both it’s courtyard beer garden and “al fresco” area out front on Oxford Street.
Dancing Man Brewery – Town Quay, Southampton SO14 2AR
Dancing Man Brewery is one of Southampton’s biggest venues dedicated to craft and yet is perhaps the city’s best kept secrets, as you’re unlikely to find their beers outside of this site (a conscious decision made by the brewery). Based in one of Southampton’s oldest buildings, Dancing Man Brewery is a far cry from the converted shop and industrial units we generally come to expect on our craft beer adventures. You will often find the downstairs bar to be packed out and the first floor restaurant booked up, a testament to their equally fantastic food and beer.
Belgium and Blues – 184 Above Bar St, Southampton SO14 7DW
Situated in Southampton’s cultural quarter, Belgium and Blues boasts two floors, a gin bar at street level and a beer cellar below. Their range, as you might expect, has a heavy focus on Belgian beers, which is unique not only for Southampton, but also for much of the UK. If the Belgian style isn’t your thing, they also always have a fair selection of other types of beer on tap and in bottles/cans.