Frank Marnell ran The Watergate Inn for 25 years until retirement after the lease was bought by Chester Race Company who will demolish the pub to create an improved entrance.
Now Mr Marnell, who is secretary of the Licensed Victuallers Association and chairman of Chester Pubwatch, is going into business with Seamus O’Keefe and his wife to reopen the Riverside Cafe by the Queen’s Park suspension bridge.
He can’t believe the ‘storm in a teacup’ that followed after he applied for premises licence to sell alcohol until 9pm Monday to Sunday and for activities including playing music or staging live performances.
A decision is awaited from Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Mr Marnell said: “It’s a business proposition. It will be a café which is exactly what it means. It won’t be a pub.”
And he joked: “It’s not expected to be an all night rave venue in the near future!”
Mr Marnell said his business partners had a young family so would not be wanting to work late.
“It’s so customers can have a glass of wine or a glass of beer with their lunch, like everybody else on The Groves, that’s all we’re asking for. We are asking for a licence until 9pm at night.”
He said the business had been shut for about 12 months and he hoped the community would get behind a new venture.
A planning application has also been lodged to reopen windows at the side of the property that were bricked up in the past.