A NEW bar and bistro is to take over a former Southampton pub that was forced to close after a breach of coronavirus rules.

Mbuntu Cocktail Bar & Bistro is set to open on May 17 on the ground floor of the former Bitterne Park Hotel in Cobden Avenue.

The bar is set to be opened by business man and chef Prince Ogbuji with his wife, who already run Nativ restaurants in Bournemouth and in Bevois Valley.

Mr Ogbuji has been a chef for more than 11 years and said that him and his team "know what good food is".

On the bar's Facebook page, it says that the African word Mbuntu means "I am who I am because of who we are".

It continues: "It’s about including everyone and about bringing people together. It’s like the Three Musketeers used to say; 'All for one and one for all'.

"Passionate chef and seasoned restaurateur Prince Ogbuji has carefully handpicked our food, drink and even our furniture to help make everyone feel welcome and part of our Mbuntu family.

"With our food menu, we’ve picked fabulous dishes from all around the world, representing different ways of life and of living.

"From the sweet and fruity flavours of a Japanese Katsu curry to delicious Italian Pasta and our tasty, filling Mexican Burritos.

"We’ve put in the same dedication and efforts with our beautiful cocktails.

"We have Cuban Mojito, Italian Aperol Spritz, Martini cocktails or even Caribbean Guinness punches."

It adds: "The world has been through a lot this last year or so and we all need some togetherness in our lives; we all need Mbuntu."

It comes after the Bitterne Park Hotel had its licence revoked after about 40 people were found drinking at the venue during a Christmas Eve party last year.

The police described the incident as a "blatant disregard” for Coronavirus restrictions and fined the licensees £1,000.

Business owners apologised and said things "got out of hand".

As previously reported, Southampton was in Tier 2 when the incident happened.