A new pub landlord is hoping to buck the current trend and reverse the fortunes of an ailing Oxford boozer.

Henry Mo, 50, has taken on a 20-year lease for The Somerset pub, in Marston Road, Marston, despite being advised by his bank manager and accountant not to.

Mr Mo said he had spent more than £100,000 of his own money renovating the pub, after his bank refused to lend to him.

He said: “My bank manager told me pubs are no-go areas now for banks.

“I know the industry is going through a bad time right now, but I believe I have the skills here to turn things around.

“Marston Road has lost all of its other pubs following the closure of The Friar and the Plasterers Arms and I think people will want to see The Somerset doing well.”

Mr Mo also pointed to another nearby pub, The Cavalier, in Copse Lane, Northway, which is currently shut as its owners Punch Taverns looks for a new tenant.

He said: “This pub was also struggling when we took it over, but we think that we can really revive it and give people something they want.”

On Monday the Oxford Mail reported that the Oxford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale was calling on people to support their local pubs.

According to the group, 15 pubs out of about 150 have closed in Oxford over the past five years.

To turn its fortunes round, The Somerset will offer a “new and exciting” menu — with some very interesting cooking methods.

Mr Mo said: “We will have these volcanic rocks that you keep at 440C in special ovens.

“You take them out and take them to the table and it allows people to cook their steaks exactly how they like them.

“Our new chef is Chinese, but has trained in France, so most of the food will have a French or Italian theme with some Asian twists.”

Food will not be the only thing to undergo a transformation at the pub.

The new manager, Kenny Lo, specialises in cocktails and the pub will eventually have more than 100 on offer.

However, Mr Mo said the pub’s existing regulars would always be welcome and hoped they would like the changes.

He said: “I’ve already met some of the regulars and they have been great.

“They are nice people and we always want them to be made welcome here. Trying to turn the fortunes of the pub around is going to be a big challenge.

“But we hope we can go against everything that is happening to the industry.”