The new owners of a popular and established pub near Darlington have said a £50,000 refurbishment will improve, but not change, the experience for customers.

A pub landlord who appeared on Channel 4 television series Four in a Bed has taken on The Otter & Fish in Hurworth-on-Tees,  his third pub working in partnership with independent pub company Punch Pubs & Co.

Channelling inspiration from popular steakhouses and cocktail bars the new owners hope to uphold the pub's reputation, while adding bedrooms to the upstairs space.

The Northern Echo: The Otter & Fish in Hurworth-on-Tees is under new and experienced ownership promising a £50,000

Michael Crane has successfully run the popular Fox Inn in Guisborough since 2014 and he is now launching a brand new venture, turning his hand to the Otter & Fish in Hurworth-on-Tees, Darlington with the support of his partner Jai Bennison.

With more than a decade of working in the hospitality industry, this is Michael’s third time running a pub since he started aged 21.

Michael said: “I like to talk to different people, and I love that each day in this industry is so different. I never anticipated being where I am now, but I feel like everything fell into place all for the right reason.

“I jumped at the opportunity of taking on the Otter & Fish. It is a fantastic pub and it’s not very often that ones like this become available.

“The pub was in a wonderful condition so there wasn’t much that needed doing to it. It has a great reputation already and we just want to build on that.”

Michael says the biggest changes as part of the £50,000 refurbishment will take place upstairs, as he plans to create three new bedrooms.

The Northern Echo: The bar area of the Otter & Fish

Michael and Jai are also looking to enhance the much-loved eatery’s stellar reputation by expanding the pub's current food menu creating a new steakhouse concept, which they feel the local area is missing.

They also hope to section off the garden area with a modern cocktail bar, plans which are soon to be underway.

Michael also promises to enhance the Otter & Fish’s existing drinks range by introducing eight draught products to its bar, which will be available to dining guests also.

The Northern Echo: The dining area of the Otter & Fish

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Despite minor changes, Michael and Jai want to reassure guests that the Otter & Fish they all know and love will not be changed, only improved.

Michael said: “The pub name, the staff and chef will not change, we’re not here to create a whole new pub. We saw an opportunity to develop the pub’s current offering, and we will do this without affecting its style.”

The Otter & Fish reopened at the beginning of March.

More information about the pub’s upcoming events and offerings can be found on their Facebook page here