Monday, 2 April 2012

Garage Lounge - No.1 Albert Buildings, Southsea

If you have failed to notice this new cafe that has opened in the last few weeks (March 7th to be exact), then perhaps you need to get out in the fresh air a little more!  Situated on the corner of Albert Road and Victoria Grove, it used to be the old old Allen Bros Tyre & Van Hire place.  I have been 3 times now with different friends who wanted to try it out, and so we find this cafe culture seems to be hitting Southsea furiously, with cafes popping up everywhere.

The owner Alex who is an architect by trade is from Portsmouth and has been looking for the right venue to open for business.  Himself and 3 of his friends transformed this site into the modern, stylish cafe we see before us.  He has worked in London, and is a  regular visitor to Brighton, and you certainly do get the feel that his cafe is oozing with the style found in both of these trendy cities. 

It is more than a cafe though.  It's a place to sit and relax with friends and take in the beautiful ambiance and the antique charm bursting from every corner.  With beautiful big airy windows when the sun is shining it truly is the place to be.

All food including cakes are made daily, and there is always something unusual to tempt you which faces you on the open counter as you walk in.  No detail has been left to chance, even the food is served up on wooden boards lined elegantly with paper. There is a good selection of teas to choose from too, I will vow to try as many as I can!

The Garage lounge is open daily until 11pm and I recall Alex saying he was opening for breakfasts too as early as 7/8am.  This is a great alternative to going to the pub on an evening, which seems to be our only other optionin the UK!  I hope more cafes will see that this is what people want, and will also jump on board.  I know of an ice cream parlour in Eastbourne of all places that does a roaring trade in the evening!

One thing to note is that you need to find a table, then go and choose your food, and place your order at the counter.  This is not obvious when you first walk in and may be a little confusing, but on your second visit you soon get the hang of it.  Pricing is reasonable too, and falls in line with most other  places in town.

What do you think of the Garage Lounge?


  1. I love this place... I work in there and i love it. I would like come back again and work with them again... the place is very beautiful, and I love the people. thank you for the time that I have been in there... i learn too much with them. I miss them

    PatrĂ­cia Teixeira

  2. place is crap - serve food on plywood yuk!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I have been in a couple of times and was very disappointed.

    I wanted to love the place as it looks so inviting. But, unfortunately, the food and drink does not deliver.

    The first time i went in i had a quiche- so shallow and tasteless i didn't want to eat it.

    The second time i just has coffee which was fine but nothing special. I was going to have cake but found it to be rather expensive and not that inviting.

    I also don't like the fact that you have to ask what everything is....fine for one or two items but a bit embarrassing if you want to know what everything is. I notice that they do now have some sort of drinks menu (which they didn't to begin with) but it's still not that helpful overall.

    As the post also mentions, it would be helpful for the place to be clear about how to order.

    There is also something slightly unsavory about a lot of the food just being left out on display. Things such as sandwiches with meat in them, these could just be for display purposes i guess but you just don't know.

    It's such a shame as it could be so lovely, but seems to not quite come up to scratch. I have also noticed that most people i have talked to about this place seem to agree.

  4. Pretension on a plate. Overpriced, try-hard and not a patch on The Tenth Hole. A place for the aspirational, self-proclaimed 'beautiful people' of Southsea.

  5. Just returned from visiting the garage lounge in Southsea, fantastic venue, amazing cake, good coffee, love the ambience and eccentricity of the place. staff were smart, polite and attractive. well done and many thanks !!!!
    see you again.

  6. dey got fit male staff up in der

  7. Coming from Australia, I've found that quite a few of the cafes and eateries in the UK lack character (not true of the pubs, of course). Garage Lounge was one of the few independent cafes I came across that actually felt like it could comfortably exist in inner-city Melbourne. Although the food and drink is obviously the most important thing, ambience plays a major role on my impressions of a place, and I think Garage Lounge has that in spades.

    It's also been packed every time I have been, which is a ringing endorsement.

  8. I adore this place. The cake cabinet is a thing of wonder and the cakes are delicious and reasonably priced.
    I recently visited family in Portsmouth from Bristol and had to take my partner to sample the cakes before we went home. He was very happy and loved the decor and overall ambience.
    The only minor grumble I have is that serving meals on flat boards is not ideal and you tend to make a bit more of a mess than usual and serving coffee in glasses without handles makes it quite difficult to drink without burning your hands.
    However, those two things won't put me off returning.

    Being a non-drinker and in my late 20's it is difficult to find anywhere nice to go just for "a drink" that isn't a pub. However the location of the GL means that you still feel connected to Southseas night life without having to go to the sometimes noisy bars/pubs or having to go to a restaurant.
    Good work GL, will be back again soon!

  9. Too expensive... nearly 8 quid for a coffee and a slice of cake! Cake was good, but for that price, id rather get a whole cake. Also, tables have been too crammed in. Move some away and make the place abit more comfortable!

  10. a good place to throw your money away. Good ambiance but not value for money.

  11. I love the idea of a cafe that's open till late, as a non-drinker I don't go to pubs so I wish there were more places to go in the evening!

    However, unfortunately I have to give some criticisms to this place
    - too expensive compared to other cafes
    - things like serving food on boards and giving you rough sea salt and pepper (the one you have to grind up with your fingers) looks very nice but isn't very practical, I really just wanted some normal salt for my soup!!
    - sugar left open on tables, cakes and other food left open on display, I'm afraid that completely put me off! Who knows if someone has coughed on the cake, or some kid with dirty hands has touched it? *shudder*
    - I know they're trying to be different but sometimes a few 'normal' things on the menu would be nice!!

    On the bright side, the ambiance is nice and I have had some nice food there. Unfortunately I don't have enough money to feel inclined to visit more than once or twice a year as I can have just as good a time at a much cheaper price elsewhere!

  12. Great place - you can tell an architect has created it, everything is delivered with such thought, care and attention to detail - from the beautiful cake display case to the antique furniture and tables. Great staff, great location, ticks all the boxes really...

    Apart from the prices that is....I spent £12 on 4 small juices and over a fiver on a piece of cake which was a thing of beauty but was a) too big and b) too pricey really for what it was. As a tea/cafe lover, I felt this was a little steep and did come away a little under-whelmed.

    The food menu was impressive however and I'd return again to test it out.

    My kids weren't impressed with the gelato - a little too rich and at £6 for two small scoops I have to admit to feeling a little short changed!

    So, ambience/looks/style/interiors/staff get top on the pricing and food offering and it could be a little piece of Pompey heaven.

  13. i would love a job at the cafe in portsmouth im 17 :)