YOU don't need a long memory to recall the Crown and Anchor's dingy past.

But after a £50,000 refit the Winchester pub has restored its reputation as a city favourite.

Next to the city's coach stops and park and ride, the location is handy for older punters and tourists planning a day at the shops or Christmas market.

New manager Steve Mellor has invested in the interior, with new floors, signs and wallpaper.

And his attitude reflects the atmosphere of the pub – straightforward and honest.

"The standards were rubbish before," he says. "It was bleak and it smelled.

"We've got good service and standards now."

The bar is equally unpretentious. Pints are cheaper than many of Winchester's high-end pubs.

"We do very good value for money and have very competitive drinks prices," Mr Mellor says. "We've built up a really good night trade and Sundays are mental."

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But he says the Broadway site, leased from Greene King and run by Harnser Inns, is not big enough. "A lot of people have to leave because there's nowhere to sit," he says. "We've just got to make the best out of what we've got."

A further £5,000 is going into the garden for a relaunch in summer.

There's also the senior citizen's food menu, which Mr Mellor says pensioners "go wild" for. He estimates they make up 60 per cent of his trade, also boosted by local tradesmen and the pub's thriving sport culture.

But there could be a trade boom next year.

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When the Silver Hill quarter is regenerated, the Crown and Anchor will be front and centre to thousands of shoppers looking for somewhere to park their bags.

Mr Mellor smiles when he hears of the plans. Having only moved to Winchester three months ago, he has been blissfully unaware of the controversy surrounding the project.

The 47-year-old has run pubs in the north all his life, but he's looking forward to a strong future down south.