Couple pawned wedding rings trying to keep Sunderland pub open

The Beer House, Bridge Street, Sunderland with is to close as the landlord Paul Craigs and his wife Christina are moving to Kuwait. the couple are picturecbehind the bar with Paul's father Jim.

The Beer House, Bridge Street, Sunderland with is to close as the landlord Paul Craigs and his wife Christina are moving to Kuwait. the couple are picturecbehind the bar with Paul's father Jim.

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A PUB landlord and his wife were forced to pawn their wedding rings in a failed bid to keep a city centre bar open.

The Beer House in Bridge Street, Sunderland, has served up its last pint, less than a year after opening.

Formerly The Central, it re-opened in August last year after standing empty for more than two years.

But landlord Paul Craigs said he can no longer afford to keep beer flowing.

He ran the pub alongside wife Cristina, 37, and his father Jim, 80.

Things got so tough that as well as pawning their precious jewellery, former railway worker Jim was ploughing his pension into the businesses.

The Craigs are now returning to Kuwait, where they met while working as teachers.

Mr Craigs, from Roker, said he had little help from the banks in trying to keep things afloat.

He said: “We’ve had no help with the rates. We are too big for small business rate relief and too small for any sort of help from the bank.

“I can’t stand the banking system. When we have a home match, we take a lot of money, but other weeks we don’t and there is no leeway.

““We’ve been having to get payday loans, which are costing us £100 for £500.

“Northern Power also really kicked us in the teeth. When there was a match, we couldn’t open all day because there was a power outage.

“We lost a full day’s takings, which was about £2,000. When we rang up, they said they would have given us £180 if the power had been out for 18-and-a-half hours.

“The cellar electrics still don’t work, so I’m having to carry barrels down the stairs and I’ve hurt my elbow.”

Before taking over the pub, Mr Craigs had more than 30 years experience in the pub trade, working as a manager for Vaux Breweries and was the last landlord to run the popular Double Maxim pub in Durham Road.

Regulars have bid a sad farewell to the Beer House, which was one of Sunderland’s few remaining freehouses.

“The customers are devastated,” Mr Craigs said, “They are now looking for somewhere else to go. Cask ales are making a comeback and are really popular.

“We were independent – that’s how we were able to do so many cask ales.

“We were hoping set up a micro brewery and applied for a commercial mortgage to buy the place.”

A spokesman for Northern Powergrid said: “We can confirm we received a letter on April 4 this year from the Beer House, following an underground low voltage cable fault that resulted in a loss of supply on March 4.

Twitter: @janethejourno

and March 10.

“We are currently investigating the matter and will be in contact with the customer as soon as possible.”

Twitter: @janethejourno