A BAR and guesthouse has opened at the former Clarendon pub in Harwich Road, Colchester.

Owners James Moreno and Carl Blanchette want to maintain the the Eastgate Inn’s tradition as an old fashioned pub with rooms to let upstairs.

More than 150 customers attended the launch night.

Mr Moreno, 42, said: “The first night went really well.

“We had a few Clarendon regulars come in and some new customers who had never been in the building before.

“This has certainly been a learning curve.”

The pair have taken on two members of staff and said they will continue to employ locally.

A night in the Eastgate will cost you about £75 for a double en-suite room with a breakfast.

Mr Moreno and Mr Blanchette have also been granted planning permission to convert the Grade II listed offices on North Hill into an upmarket guesthouse.

Law firm Thompson Smith and Puxon will move to offices in the former Le Cateau Barracks in Stable Road, Colchester.

Mr Blanchette a self-employed plasterer and Mr Moreno, a guest house developer, plan to start work in the new year.