A gin bar and restaurant boasting one of the ‘best views in the North’ is set to open its doors in the coming weeks.
Tin of Sardines, which made headlines when it opened the world’s smallest gin bar in Durham, is set to open a third site, on Sunderland’s sea front, with a landscaped outdoor terrace hanging over the iconic Roker Pier.
Boasting stunning panoramas of the pier and its two blue-flag beaches, the venue will stock over 200 varieties of gin and 50 mixers, as well as an array of locally produced snacks and meals.
Founded by father and son business partners Lord Trevor and Ben Davis, the pair opened the first ever Tin of Sardines venue on Durham’s historic Elvet Bridge in 2017, with the venue holding just 16 people and stocking hundreds of varieties of gin.
The concept proved such a success that the pair opened a second venue in Trevor’s hometown of Poole, a popular seaside town on England’s south coast, renovating a former newsagents and contributing to the conservation and restoration of the town’s famed shoreline.
Trevor and Ben – alongside business partner Bethany Jane Hardy – are now hoping their first foray into Sunderland with Tin of Sardines will follow in the success of their previous two sites and help contribute to the ongoing transformation of the city’s seaside.
Ben said: “Since being handed the keys last week we’ve been delighted with how work is progressing on the site and we are confident of opening our doors within the next six to eight weeks.
“The Tin of Sardines brand has been a real success since we first opened our doors in Durham five years ago and we’d been mulling over a third venue for some time before we saw the former Roker Toilet Block hit the market.
“As someone born and bred in Sunderland and as a family embedded in the region’s hospitality industry for decades, we knew this was an opportunity we couldn’t miss out on and were sold on the idea of bringing it to the city as soon as we set eyes on it.
“Our success has been built upon providing a quaint, relaxed atmosphere, where people can meet, eat and drink away from the hustle and bustle.
“Identifying locations that nurture such an environment is somewhat of a challenge and for my money – with its breath-taking views of the promenade and idyllic location – there aren’t many sites in the North East that could come close to this aesthetically.”
The Davis Family, who hail from Sunderland and count a number of successful leisure venues among their portfolio, have signed a 10-year lease for the former Roker Toilet Block on Pier View – adjacent to the Bungalow Café – creating 12 jobs.
This follows a £250,000 investment from Sunderland City Council, assisted by grant funding courtesy of The Coastal Communities Fund, to ensure the premises was ready for a tenant to move into.
The income from the lease will also support the Sunderland Seafront Trust, which operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours, and the new income will help it to organise a range of seafront events and activities.
Ben added: “Seaburn and Roker have benefited from millions of pounds of investment over recent years and we’re delighted to be the latest company joining this fantastic community of businesses.
“We can’t thank Sunderland City Council and Lofthouse Partners enough for giving us this unique opportunity and we are looking forward to working with local traders as we craft our new offering and breathe a new lease of life into the site.”
Sunderland City Council has spent more than £10m on seafront regeneration and improvements over recent years, with award-winning environmental and street-scene enhancements helping attract developments such as Seaburn Stack, the Seaburn Inn and a host of new businesses to Marine Walk.
It’s a key part of the wider transformation of the city, including the city centre, which is attracting hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into Riverside Sunderland.
Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Roker and Seaburn are fast establishing themselves as a real destination for people from across the region and beyond to visit and Tin of Sardines will only add to that experience.
“We’re delighted to have worked with the team on this development and would like to wish them all the best for the future.”
Regional commercial property agents Lofthouse and Partners secured the lease on behalf of Sunderland City Council.
Mario Jaconelli, director at Lofthouse & Partners, said: “It is very rare that such a unique seafront opportunity like this becomes available to the market and accordingly it attracted a substantial level of interest from some very good quality operators.
“Following the selection process our clients were satisfied that the successful tenant will bring another dynamic and offering to the fast-changing sea front offering.”