SeacoastNH Home

Seacoast New Hampshire
& South Coast Maine

facebook logo

facebook logo

SEE ALL SIGNED BOOKS by J. Dennis Robinson click here
Brewery Wars in Downtown Portsmouth

Portsmouth barroom crica Presents 
Historic Portsmouth #444

Experts in local beer-ology should study this photo carefully. It is littered with fascinating bottles and signs that give us a flavor of the bar scene before Prohibition. The image appeared on a postcard mailed on December 11, 1911. The location of this Portsmouth bar is as yet unknown. (Continued below)


The bartender seems none-too-happy to have a photographer in his establishment at eight minutes before 9 pm – or is it more likely 9 am? Only one customer sits to the left of the ornate bar. The wooden case marked “Lager Beer” appears to be topped by a carved Bellamy eagle. A sign at the top promotes Portsmouth Brewing Company with its anchor logo and another suggests customers order a “Tom & Jerry.”  A sign in the middle sets up the beer battle lines in an era when two giant breweries and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard defined the city economy. It reads: “We sell Jones and Eldredge Ales – STATE YOUR CHOICE.” But it was the hand-written sign at the right that drew my attention. Although the barkeep is not in a festive mood, the notice reads: “Try our Holiday Punch: Brim Full of Joyfullness.”  (Booze and spelling apparently do not mix.) The postcard was sent to a sailor aboard the USS New Hampshire with the message “Just keep this to look at when you are dry.” (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Unidentified Portsmouth, NH bar counter circa 1911/ Portsmouth Athenaeum photo


That is the bar at the Rosa.
-- John Kelley

I think that photo in today's paper is from Jarvis's.  It looks exactly like the Metro bar.  
-- Judy Howard


Portsmouth bar detail 01 with Ballamy eagle

Detail of Portsmouth bar 02

Photo (c) Portsmouth Athenaeum,
Text (c)




Please visit these ad partners.

News about Portsmouth from

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Copyright ® 1996-2016 All rights reserved. Privacy Statement
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Site maintained by ad-cetera graphics