AFTER mysteriously closing back in January, a popular Christchurch pub has finally opened its doors again just in time for the summer.

The Ye Olde George Inn in the town centre reopened on Friday following a £380,000 interior and exterior refurbishment.

The renovations, which took five months to complete, have transformed the front bar area into a bright, open space, and converted the old skittle alley at the back of the pub into a fun new space with a pizza oven and separate bar.

New manager Jamie Keki said: “I’ve run pubs in London for most of my life, but now I have a young family I decided it was time for a change of pace.

“When I saw the opportunity to move towards the seaside and take over Ye Olde George, I jumped at it – the kids were delighted when I told them.

“I’m going to use all my experience to restore Ye Olde George into a hub for the local community and make it a success. I want it to be a place where families feel comfortable during the day, but also one that appeals to younger crowds later in the evening.

“Getting the design right and creating a space that was open planned and accessible, is key to achieving this. So, I’ve opened up the front bar and turned the central courtyard into an all year round focal point by adding heaters, blankets, chairs and a TV.”

The reasons behind its sudden closure at the beginning of the year are still unknown.

At the time an ex-employee told the Daily Echo that staff at the pub in Castle Street had been paid and given their P45s by co-owner Rob Martin, but had received no further explanation about the reasons for the closure.

Ye Olde George has also revamped its food and drink offer, which now includes authentic freshly baked pizzas from its new pizza oven. The menu also includes a range of classic British dishes, bar snacks, local real ales and cocktails.

The food and drink concept was well received by guest of honour MP Chris Chope, who poured his first pint under the locals’ careful watch at the pub's launch night on Friday.

The pub has also taken on 20 new members of staff.