PREMISES formerly occupied by a popular Weymouth pub were set to reopen last night (Friday) under the new guise of a Brazilian steakhouse.

The Rock pub on the corner of Abbotsbury Road and Newstead Road has been closed for more than a month.

Ranch Ltd, the new leaseholders, will be reopening the building as ‘Sambô’, a Brazilian all-you-can-eat restaurant (Rodizio).

The owners of the building say the new venture is a ‘leap of faith’ as the former community pub for Westham takes on a new lease of life as a Rodizio restaurant.

There will be a ‘carnival atmosphere’ at the opening of the business tonight.

Bruce Vieira, manager of Sambô, said his family chose to open its first restaurant in Weymouth after seeing an advertisement for The Rock.

He said: “The nearest Brazilian restaurant is 70 miles away in Southampton or Bristol and we have been working in these kinds of restaurants for over 20 years so wanted to start our own.

“On opening night there will be Brazilian dancers and a carnival atmosphere.”

Whilst the iconic pub will be no longer, the restaurant will serve Brazilian beers and cocktails.

David Hampton of Victoria Inns, the company that owns the building, said: “The Rock has had its moments since we refurbished in 2007 and we traded it very successfully for a few years.

“Latterly the site has had a number of (people) all wanting to do their own thing and ultimately the trend was to provide a community pub for Westham.

“Whilst this was quite popular the trade levels were not enough to keep investing in the site so we made the decision to lease to a Brazilian family who had been in the Rodizio trade for many years.”

Mr Hampton added: “Whilst it’s a bit of a leap of faith for Weymouth, the Rodizio all you can eat style steakhouse may go down very well. I understand that they already have Christmas bookings.”

Dave Harris, chairman of the West Dorset branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “We are always sorry to see a pub that sold real ale go and now it is being turned into something that I suspect won’t be doing this.

“It is a sad sight to see for the pub scene in Weymouth.”