NEW management has taken over a Chipping Sodbury real ale pub which closed on Boxing Day.

The Grapes shut its doors the day after Christmas after former landlords Gill and Dave Dyer said the rent had risen to an unaffordable rate.

But the pub, the oldest in the medieval market town, reopened on New Year’s Eve under new management.

Landlord Damien Mountford is now running the bar with partners Sam Postlehwaite and Kerri Tolhurst working behind the scenes.

Mr Postlehwaite told the Gazette: “We did as much as we could to make sure we could reopen on New Year’s Eve.

“We have lots of things planned but want to let people know that we are open and to give us a go.”

He said they hoped to become a Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) recognised pub again and plan to introduce live music nights by the end of January.

“We will be having open mic nights before then,” said Mr Postlehwaite. “We are trying to get people back in as many locals thought we had closed.

“We have very much kept it as an old English pub as this is what works and what the customers seem to like.

“We took over the grapes because with so many good English pubs closing their doors we felt that we just couldn't let another one shut.”

He said the team wished the Dyers, who have turned their wine and tapas bar across the road in the former Vicker’s Stationers into a pub, the best of luck.

Added Mr Postlehwaite: “We would hope that we can be given the chance to prove ourselves to the community of Chipping Sodbury and to all new and old customers of the grapes.”

Dave and Gill opened The Grapes in August 2010 and quickly turned the pub into a popular watering hole for locals and real ale fans. The pub became the first in Chipping Sodbury to be entered into the CAMRA guide for the South West, where it remained for two years.

Mr Dyer said they were disappointed to have to close but the rent just kept rising. “It is such a shame," he told the Gazette before Christmas. "We don’t want to go but we just can’t afford the rent.”

The couple's wine bar has now been remodelled as a pub serving real ales and ciders.

Said Mr Dyer: "It is great, we were packed on New Year's Eve and have been busy every night.

"We are much happier here. We want to say thank you to Mike Sheriff and Alan Farington, who helped build the bar and renovate the building, and all the people who helped move us across the road."

He said the bar is expected to be called The Horseshoe as it is stands at the end of Horseshoe Lane and a property nearby used to be called Horseshoe Cottage.

The Grapes sign, owned by the Dyers, has been moved to their establishment. Mr Postlehwaite said the pub would keep the name and a new sign, depicting the pub as a historic watering hold, is being made up.