A PUB landlord and magician is hoping to pull a rabbit out of the hat and create a centre for the community when he reopens a city tavern.

Tim Taylor, who used to run The Dolphin in St Denys, Southampton, said the news of the pub’s closure in June was met by customers as if they had lost a member of their family.

He is hoping that residents will rally round once again when the alehouse opens today.

Mr Taylor and his wife Lisa Douglas first took over the pub three years ago but shut up shop last month. The financial situation has not changed but Mr Taylor says he is no longer prepared to have the bar closed.

He said: “It’s got a chilled-out and relaxed atmosphere, and the weekend that we left was the saddest. I’ve never known that before and it’s like [customers] were losing members of their own family. I’m happy to do it for the community because I made so many friends there and didn’t like to see the place closed.”

The Dolphin will open today at 4pm but the celebration evening will be held on Saturday from 8pm.

The pub has reopened with the cooperation of owner Enterprise Inns, and Mr Taylor hopes that potential landlords will make themselves known if they are interested in running the pub on a long-term basis.

On Fridays Mr Taylor used to perform magic and the venue was known for having live bands at weekends.

Mr Taylor said: “It offers a community centre.”