A POPULAR town centre pub which closed suddenly last week is to reopen this weekend under new management.

The George Hotel on South Street, Bridport, has been taken on by Neil Chilcott, known as Chilly.

Chilly, from Bradpole, worked at the former Riverside Restaurant at West Bay for 40 years, eventually running it himself.

Since picking up the keys to The George last Thursday, he’s spent hours sprucing the Palmers-owned pub up with help from his family so it can reopen on Saturday.

Chilly said: “I wanted to come back to work again after the Riverside and I was wondering what I could do. I was talking to Palmers about it and they needed someone for The George. It’s is a lovely old-fashioned pub and I’ve always drank there so I accepted.”

Since then, Chilly has been working day and night to get the pub ready to reopen.

“It’s not doing anyone any good the longer it’s shut,” he said. “The longer we are closed the more likely people are to go elsewhere, so we’ve been up against it. It’s been frantic. I am a bit apprehensive as it’s my first pub - I’ve always been involved in restaurants - but I’ve drank enough Palmers beer to know what I’m doing. The place just needs a bit of a shake-up, that’s all.”

Chilly hopes to emulate the Riverside’s reputation for food.

“The menu will remain as normal but we will shake it up a bit,” he said. “There will be an element of fish and we’ll still do steaks and roasts and things like that. We’ll also do coffees so people can pop in in the day. I want to liven it up but also keep its reputation and prestige.”

The George will open tomorrow and the bar will run as normal. Light refreshments will be available but a full menu is to follow.