A NEW bar is opening off Taunton town centre at lunchtime today (Friday).

Mackenzies Bar and Kitchen, on Castle Green, will welcome its first customers from noon.

The all-day premises is situated in the former Winchester Arms, which has undergone a massive renovation.

Gael Mackenzie, who already operates outlets in Bristol and Swindon, said: "I'm really looking forward to opening.

"We're going to have some great weekend weather and it will be good to welcome people."

He added: "The building is in a great location, a lovely public realm space all day and all night.

"I fell in love with it when I saw it.

"But it had become decrepit and needed some TLC and it was a wonderful building to restore."

Food will be served all day at Mackenzies, which will open for breakfast and coffee from 9am, with a full lunch menu from midday and dinner in the evening.

There will be daily offers such as a steak deal on Mondays and Tapas Tuesdays, which feature five individual items and a bottle of wine for £5.95.

A happy hour with two-for-one cocktails will run from 5pm to 8pm every day and all day on Wednesdays and Sundays, with two-for-one gourmet burgers.

There is a wide selection of premium draught beers, real ales, gins and wines.

Mackenzies remains open all day - closing at 2am at weekends.

As well as the refurbished interior, there are two massive outdoor seating areas, where customers can "watch the world go by".

"We aim to be a great addition to Taunton's vibrant food and restaurant scene," added Mr Mackenzie.

"It's a great place to meet your friends, socialise after work or to spend a laid-back afternoon."

The ground floor bar seats 90 covers, with a further 60 in the drawing room overlooking Castle Green and 90 on the two sun terraces.

If you work for the NHS, take your ID card as you will be entitled to a 10 per cent discount.