The pub, renamed the Emperor, was closed for some months while Dave and his team refurbished it from top to bottom. The place had been allowed to run down and a huge amount of work was needed, especially behind the scenes. The main alteration in the single bar is removal of the raised “lounge” area (which never really worked) so everything is on a level. Décor is smart but unfussy with bare board floors and an interesting selection of framed photos on the walls. The latter also feature in the corridor leading to the loos and outdoor drinking area and portray Cambridge scenes, some familiar, some not; they're all for sale and include works by ALE's own ace lensman, Paul Treadaway.

Many of the team who carried out the refurbishment are now on the staff. They include Josh Hunniset and Michael Billson who we chatted to on our last visit, the guys double up as the pub's music promoters, aiming to offer lots of different new music for a city still short of good venues. That very night an American bluegrass band were stopping off as part of their European tour but all kinds of music will feature, including jazz on Wednesdays.

On the beer front, four handpumps dispense the likes of St Austell Tribute, Sharps Doom Bar, Thwaites Wainwright, Ringwood Best Bitter and Shepherd Neame Spitfire. Two or three firkins are stillaged behind the bar and are likely to contain local ales – Buntingford Twitchell and Liberty on our visit,

Food is served Monday – Friday, 12 – 2, with a roast on Sunday (12 – 4). The Italian chef cooks everything fresh, using mainly locally sourced produce. Dishes available on our visit included Thai Chicken Curry (£8.50), Bubble and Squeak with Roast Chicken and Parsley Sauce (£6) and a Large Chilli (£7.75). Pizzas (£6) come fresh from the stone-bake oven in Romsey Town.

Other attractions are a (round) pool table, bar billiards and jukebox. At the back a large function room is available for hire.

The Emperor is a most welcome arrival on the local pub scene. Josh and Michael commented on the great mix of ages and types of customer so far attracted and on the nice vibe the place exudes.

As to what Dave does next – well, we hear interesting rumours so watch this space.