Opened in the Summer of 2021, the Aspire Lounge is nestled in the heart of the Itchen Stand, offering private dining tables paired with an indulgent bowl menu showcasing Hampshire’s finest home-grown ingredients.
The name Aspire is a nod to those players who progress through the world-renowned Southampton academy, celebrating our most illustrious academy graduates from current club captain James Ward-Prowse to Matt Le Tissier and Gareth Bale.
We spoke to Hugh Wilson, Head of Hospitality and Events, who gave us an insight into a matchday in the Aspire:
What can guests expect to experience when visiting the Aspire Lounge?
The Aspire lounge is a fantastic mix of casual, yet premium hospitality. We welcome just over 150 guests into the lounge and there is a real buzz throughout the Aspire on gamedays. When working with our catering partners Gather & Gather on the concept, we wanted to create a food and beverage offering that showcased creativity and felt hearty.
A passing bowl food menu allows our guests to eat what they want, when they want. You can select unlimited dishes from 3 cold and 4 hot options each matchday, paired with dessert at half-time and a cheese station after the game. From the bar, we cater for all needs, with beers, house wine, soft drinks, tea, and coffee included in the package.
For the match itself, you’ll take a short walk to your premium padded seats with fantastic views over the halfway line, as you absorb the action on the hallowed turf.
Can you talk through a typical menu on a matchday?
When you enter the lounge on a matchday, you’ll be greeted by one of our lounge hostesses and taken to your private table. Once seated, at your own leisure, you can help yourself to as many of the cold dishes as you wish.
We cater for all desires and will always have a meat, fish, and vegetarian option available. From prawn cocktail with a smoked paprika sauce to smoked chicken terrine with artichoke, to heritage beetroot, smoked rosary goats’ cheese and Hampshire watercress, it’s the perfect way to start your experience over a cold beer or glass of wine.
Once you’re ready to tuck into the hot dishes, a waiter or waitress will be on-hand to continuously bring over the next courses as and when you wish. The hot dishes will include classics like curries, sausage and mash, and Lymington fish pie; as well as more unique offerings such as scorched salmon brioche, with spinach and tarragon emulsion, short rib of beef with bearnaise crisp onion sauce and cauliflower wings in BBQ sauce.
At half-time, alongside your drinks, two desserts will be waiting for you at your table. This could be anything from a classic sticky toffee pudding to a whipped lemon and ricotta cheesecake with ginger and blueberries. Finally, whilst digesting all the post-match reaction with friends, family, or clients, you can help yourself to local cheeses, crackers, and chutney, providing the perfect end to your matchday.
What is unique about the Aspire lounge?
At St Mary’s, we’re fortunate to have so many unique spaces that appeal to a wide range of guests: formal pitch-facing dining, casual sports bars, and club restaurants. The Aspire offers a fantastic balance between a fun, inclusive atmosphere, and indulgent premium dining. If you want to elevate your matchday in a relaxing environment, you’ll find the food and drinks, the private tables, and the superb seats for the match perfectly suit your every need.