A BAR which has had a £1.5million revamp will create about 20 new jobs in Southend town centre.

East Coast Social will be opening in the former Yates and La Tasca site in London Road next month.

Businessmen Alan Dugard and Aaron Curtis spent months looking for the right venue in Southend.

It will have a British theme, offering traditional food and decorations, including a red telephone box centrepiece.

It will offer what it says is a unique experience of food, including steaks cooked over hot rocks at the table.

The pair, whose Bedfordshirebased Interguide company owns three other venues, said they believe Southend is a town with “massive potential”.

Mr Curtis said: “It was by chance that we found the place.

“Just before Christmas we were looking at a couple of sites around Southend and popped into Nandos for a bite to eat and happened to see this across the road.”

They bought the building soon afterwards and have been refurbishing it since January 8, investing about £1.5million overall.

Other venues owned by the company include the Penthouse Nightclub in Leicester Square, London, and the Electric Social in Brixton.

Mr Curtis said: “There’s economic optimism across the UK and Southend has a great history. Hopefully us doing this will give some confidence to other people there too.”

An application for a licence to open on Friday and Saturday nights until 2am is in the pipeline.

The bar will open with a special preview party on Saturday, March 15.

Mr Curtis added: “We’re recruiting about 20 to 25 staff all from the local area, and are hoping to interview some people next week.”

Staff already recruited include Southend DJ Johnny Kango, who is the venue’s marketing manager.

For more about the venue, follow @eastcoastsoc on Twitter or search for it on Facebook.