WOKING’S MP will be among the first people to enjoy refreshments at a St John’s pub that has had a £150,000 refurbishment.

The Rowbarge will reopen on Monday (12 April) with a new licensee who was formerly head chef of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group.

Augustus Frederick Jonah will welcome MP Jonathan Lord to the pub on Monday, the day COVID-19 rules are loosened to allow outdoor table service. The MP will get a tour of the revamped venue and meet the team there, before saying a few words at its reopening.

The pub in St John’s Road was originally due to re-open in December but this was halted by the new national     lockdown.

Mr Jonah – known as Gus – says he has transformed The Rowbarge into a quality family and dog-friendly pub serving good, affordable British food. He has upgraded the decor throughout, making it more comfortable and contemporary but retaining its traditional country feel.

The exterior has also been redecorated, with new signs added, and the picturesque picket fence has been retained. Other improvements include renovation of the decking and the planting of two large olive trees which are lit up at night.

There is seating for 117 outdoors, along with the large garden. An eight-metre square heated marquee covers the decking area, to make dining in colder weather more comfortable.

Three distinct areas have been created inside – a bar and two dining areas, one of which is available for private functions, seating 20 socially distanced, or 40 once restrictions are lifted.