THE new landlord of famed Southampton pub The Hobbit has revealed his ambitions for the Middle-earth themed pub.

Bar boss Jack Andrews has promised to keep the watering-hole’s renowned theme – which once sparked a battle with the might of Hollywood.

The 29-year-old has also promised to invest and improve the pub, on Bevois Valley Road, as well as bring more live music to the venue.

Mr Andrews, who officially took over The Hobbit this week, said: “I’m really excited. I’m a big fan of the books. When I first heard it might be available I kept my ear out and said I would be happy to take it on.

“We want to keep the theme but invest and make improvements.

“I want to put on some big events – music events in particular – which I can do at The Hobbit.”

The Hobbit will be the landlord’s third bar – with Mr Andrews already running the Black Phoenix in Carlton Place and the nearby The Shooting Star, which is also on Bevois Valley Road.

He said he hoped having two nearby bars would help both businesses.

Mr Andrews, who is originally from Botley, said: “I know the pub and I know the area really well.

“I took over The Shooting Star three years ago, we made improvements there and it’s doing really well.

“Having the two bars [The Shooting Star and The Hobbit] will really help as we can work across the two venues and have that support.”

Mr Andrews takes over from long-serving landlady Stella Roberts, who surrendered the lease last month after 12 years at the helm.

During her tenure, the pub was involved in a legal battle with the might of Hollywood, who, as previously reported in the Echo, accused the pub of using the name “The Hobbit” and other JRR Tolkien characters and film images in the pub.

The legal battle sparked a fundraising campaign, while Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry helped support the pub in 2012 when Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) accused it of copyright infringement.

Ian McKellen described the film company’s actions as “unnecessary pettiness”.

The pub is owned by Star Pubs and Bars, part of the Heineken group.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We’d like to thank Stella for her time at The Hobbit and wish her well for the future. We are pleased that an experienced Southampton licensee – Jack Andrews – has taken the reins at the pub.

“The Hobbit is much loved by customers. The intention is to retain The Hobbit name and theme, whilst making tweaks and changes over the coming months to upgrade the pub and deliver a better customer experience.”