A POPULAR watering hole is almost ready to welcome punters back after a major refurbishment.

The Dog and Pheasant closed in October for a huge refit and is re-opening today.

The pub, in Nayland Road, Mile End, Colchester, has undergone a six-figure rebranding, moving away from its former Hungry Horse guise and relaunching under the Greene King brand with a new look and fresh menu.

Stevie Kerner, general manager, can’t wait to welcome customers back to the pub.

“We open properly today and I’m very excited about it. We’re straight in with a Colchester United home match so it’s going to be busy,” she said.

Gazette: Pub boss - Stevie Kerner, general manager at the Dog and Pheasant in ColchesterPub boss - Stevie Kerner, general manager at the Dog and Pheasant in Colchester (Image: Newsquest)

“We’ve tripled our workforce, growing from the little team we had before while creating a lot of job opportunities in the area.”

The revamped pub is completely unrecognisable on the inside and out, with a new bar and a refreshed garden which includes an undercover pergola and outdoor heating.

“We can’t wait for the summer,” Stevie added.

The pub re-opens today with a close-up magician to wow returning crowds.

Gazette: Fresh look - the pub in Nayland RoadFresh look - the pub in Nayland Road (Image: Newsquest)

Local musician Annie Maguire will also be performing, followed by a DJ playing music in the evening to welcome visitors back to the popular venue.

Tomorrow, the pub will host a family fun day featuring festive face painting, mulled wine, and even a visit from Father Christmas.

The huge redesign came after a petition calling for a better pub in Mile End set up by a frustrated resident garnered more than 900 signatures.

Gazette: New bar - the Dog and Pheasant has been completely redesignedNew bar - the Dog and Pheasant has been completely redesigned (Image: Newsquest)

Jennifer Griggs, who launched the petition last year, was delighted Greene King bosses had taken action, saying the redesign would be of huge benefit to the “thriving” area of Colchester.

“The pub has been a great support to the local community and it would be good to see it get the revamp it deserves,” she previously said.

The mum-of-two added potentially higher prices under a more premium brand would not deter her from visiting.