AN old Romsey pub name is set to return.

As part of a £210,000 refurbishment the Tavern Inn, which has been closed since April, will re-open under its original name, the Phoenix.

The new landladies are Carol Rickman and her business partner Liz Surplice.

Carol, currently based at the Malthouse Inn at Timsbury, says they are are relishing the challenge of running the pub at the corner of The Hundred and Latimer Street.

During its 180-year history this watering hole had many names including Romsey Ale House, Romsey Tavern, the Phoenix and the Phoenix Hotel.

Carol comes to the Phoenix with plenty of pub experience – along with her husband Martin she runs the Malthouse, the Sun Inn and Hunters Inn at Woodley.

As previously reported in the Advertiser Carol and Martin are giving up the lease of the Malthouse in October to concentrate on their other pubs.

“I’ve lived in Romsey all my life and can remember the Tavern in its heyday,” she said.

“It’s a fantastic building in a great location with real potential but it needs a new direction, a lot of tender loving care and some significant investment.

“We want to give the Phoenix the ‘wow’ factor and have new ideas and surprises that we hope all Romsonians will like.”

Included in the pub’s makeover is a kitchen upgrade and the creation of a dining area. Carol’s Carvery, which currently pulls in the crowds at the Malthouse, will be a feature of Sundays at the Phoenix.

Other improvements include installing a barista coffee bar with seating, a function room, and new toilets.

A free Wi-Fi service will also be offered to customers.

Outside, the patio garden area in Latimer Street will also be revamped.

The pub is owned by Star Pubs and Bars, whose trading director, Chris Jowsey said: “We’re delighted that such experienced, committed and enthusiastic operators as Carol and Liz have taken on the Tavern and that together we are investing in its long-term future for residents and visitors to Romsey.

“It’s tough running a pub with increasing competition for consumer’s disposable income. To be successful in today’s market, pubs must improve their offering to customers and this means in investing in pubs like the Tavern to create a welcoming and relevant environment for all.”

l Enterprise Inns, which owns the Malthouse are now marketing the pub. The price guide is £70,000 per annum, to rise annually.

Kate Dowd from Fleurets, which is handling the lease, said: “This is already a popular food led destination pub but there is an opportunity for a new operator to develop the business and perhaps utilise some extra land to develop the property further.”