A TOWN centre pub has closed its doors and could be reopened as a sports bar.

The Capitol in Churchgate has been closed for several days, with its doors locked.

Traders in Churchgate have reported seeing workmen going in and out of the premises and people carrying food inside.

Tony Dooley, manager of the Old Man and Scythe pub across the road, said: “I have been told the pub will reopen in three months as a sports bar.

He added: “That is what I have been told, that it will be a sports bar and will open in about 12 weeks.

“I do think it seems to be a very odd time to close the pub, with the World Cup just starting and the summer weather coming too.”

Mr Dooley said he did not believe The Capitol’s closure would affect his pub.

He added: “We have a very different clientele to that of The Capitol, so I don’t think it will change much.

“But it does make Churchgate look a bit more desolate.

“We have been coming out to tell people we are still open.”

Records indicate that The Capitol was previously owned by Barracuda SPVCO ltd, but The Bolton News understands that the company was forced to go into administration.

Marie Walsh, who runs Ye Olde Pastie Shop in Churchgate, said she was surprised to hear that the pub had closed.

She added: “I have been told that it is being refurbished — but it seems odd to me because it was only recently done up.

“There is a lack of people along Churchgate these days and I think that is a problem for businesses. This used to be a really busy thoroughfare. But I always saw people sitting outside The Capitol so I’m surprised it has closed.”

Bolton Council spent £1 million upgrading Churchgate in 2006.

New paving and cobbles were laid but since then a number of firms have either closed down or relocated.

Grants of up to £20,000 are available for new businesses and Town Hall bosses hope to reinvent the street as the “restaurant quarter”.