TWO long-standing pubs in Southampton are back from the brink after new landlords were secured.

The Dorchester Arms, in Bevois Valley, will be back open just days after its former landlords held a last night bash for the popular venue on Saturday night.

And The Highfield, in Portswood, which closed without explanation ten days ago, is also set to reopen within a fortnight.

‘Fighting chance’ A former doorman at the Dorchester, Michael Warner, 32, said he came to the rescue after hearing the lease was up for grabs from owners Enterprise Inns.

He said: “I thought I would ring up and find out what the situation was with it, and if there was anything I could do to keep it open. We have now managed to work out a deal to give it a fighting chance.”

Michael and sister Charlene will be revamping the decor while keeping the pub’s character and reputation as a live music venue and traditional city pub.

He said: “Enterprise Inns did ask if I wanted to change its name, but I said no because it has built such a great reputation.”

Long-serving former landlord Terry Lennon stepped down in December after 36 years behind the pumps.

Then Joe Khalil, who has run The Alexandra, in Bellevue Road, for the last six years, took over the helm but decided after a year the rate Enterprise Inns was charging was too high.

He said: “The deal was not right. We could not continue because it was not practical. I hope it stays as a pub and that Enterprise Inns gives it the leeway it needs.”

Meanwhile Punch Taverns, which owns The Highfield, would not comment on the circumstances of the closure, but said its future had been secured.

A spokesman said: “The Highfield is closed and should be reopened within the next two weeks.”