THE owner of an 'upmarket' pub and bar soon to open its doors in Worcester has defended the project from criticism.

Francesca's is set to have its official opening in the Corn Market in Worcester at 6pm on Friday, November 22 although the venue is expected to open its doors to customers before this.

Some Worcester News readers questioned how upmarket the venue would be if showed Champions League football and served homemade hunter's chicken.

However, others expressed their hope that the business would be a success, wishing manager Megan Calvert and owner Nick Smith good luck in the venture.

Mr Smith said the reason he was dressed informally in the photo of him used by the Worcester News was because he and others were in the process of renovating the building ready for the opening. He and others have worked around 400 hours getting the pub and bar ready over the last three weeks.

He said through the day the venue would be a pub, serving home-made food, before switching to an upmarket bar in the evening after 5pm when high-end cocktails, fine locally sourced wines from Herefordshire and Tapas would be available.

He said: "We're going to bring back some life to Worcester. This is going to be an exceptional place to go."

Mr Smith said he hoped this business model would mean 'the best of both worlds' to appeal to a cross-section of customers. He added: "Because we are a freehold pub we can set out own prices. It will be upmarket but the the prices will be reasonable." He also challenged the claim there would be 'no beers', saying the pub/bar would serve IPA, John Smith's and a wide range of guest ales, a different one for every month of the year.

Mr Smith, who also runs a renovation company and a commercial laundrette, said a smarter code of dress would be expected in the evenings with a 'no hats and hoodies' policy although the atmosphere would be more relaxed during the day when sport would be shown, especially on Sundays.