A PUB that has been closed for around two years is starting a "new chapter" as it reopens its doors once again.

The Cuckoo Inn in Hamptworth is celebrating its grand opening on Friday, March 18.

Landlord Nik Amplianitis says he is "very excited" for the opening and has been busy getting the pub ready for its return - "refreshing" the interior, renovating the kitchen and sprucing up the garden.

"I want to bring this pub to life and take the history of it and make a brand new chapter," said the 31-year-old.

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Nik with a cuckoo clock he bought before becoming landlord of the pub

Prior to taking on the pub Nik, who is originally from Greece, previously worked as a bar manager at a nightclub in London and a general manager at a coffee and breakfast shop.

While working in London he was approached about the Cuckoo Inn and whether he'd be interested in running it and when he visited he fell in love with the pub and the area.

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The village also reminded him of where he grew up in Greece and he wanted his two children to be able to enjoy that, rather than the hustle and bustle of London.

"It was a perfect combination for me personally and professionally," said the father.

The Cuckoo Inn will have a selection of real ales, beers, ciders, wines, spirits and cocktails on offer, as well as a "bigger menu" of food with traditional and classic dishes and some Greek specials.

The pub will also be roasting its own coffee and will use as much local produce as it possibly can.

Outside, there will be a themed cocktail bar which will change every year. This year it will be a tikki bar.

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On how he feels to be bringing the pub back to the community, Nik added: "I feel very proud. We've put in a lot of hard work."

The pub, which even boasts its own pétanque court as well as hitching posts for horses, had been due to celebrate its 150th anniversary in August 2020, but was unable to mark the milestone after closing due to the pandemic in March of that year.

Nik wants to organise an anniversary celebration event in April to honour the pub's history.

Other plans in the pipeline also include the return of a beer festival in May, another in August, and in June a jubilee event for the village.

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"My plan is to have a big event every month and smaller events in between," adds Nik who also wants to have open grill nights.

Nik wants it to be a place where people can "escape" their daily lives and "have fun".

"We want familys to be here, drinkers, people here to play pétanque, cyclists, walkers - every single person will be welcome in the pub," he continues.

"I want them to feel like it is their pub. It is a pub for the community.

"For the future we need to upgrade a few things and bring the pub back to as it used to be in great times. I want this pub to be a small gem of the New Forest."

The grand opening is from 6pm to 11pm.

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