A NEW pub boss has vowed to turn around the image of a once-thriving bar which was tarnished by drugs allegations and underage drinkers.
Andrew Stoker and his firm, Stoker Leisure Limited, are now at the helm of Bar Pure in Olive Street, in Sunderland city centre, which has been derelict for two years after its licence was revoked.
Police urged the council to shut the bar after evidence of cocaine use was found in the toilets and underage age drinkers were sold alcohol by a 16-year-old barmaid on police test purchases.
But Andrew says he wants to spark a new era at the bar and clamp down on past behaviour.
“The underage drink and drugs was a massive issue and I understand the reputation is tarnished,” he said. “But I want to bring the good reputation back and run it properly. Challenge 21 will be in place and staff have undergone a lot of training.”
Andrew said he was attracted to the bar after working in other city centre venues and realising Bar Pure’s potential.
“I’ve worked as a bar manager in the town for a good few years,” he said. “I know what the bar was and what it can be.”
The bar will open to the public tonight, with a new look and a new take on its old music policy which was once heavily Indie-influenced.
Andrew said: “The bar was battered when I got the keys. But I’ve pretty much knocked the interior down and started again. I’ve re-tiled, there’s a new back bar and taken the wall back to the brick. We’ve also got accessories like a piano and guitars hanging down. I want to make it a nice music venue as opposed to a grotty place.”
He added: “We will play Indie music but there will also be a wide spread of music such as 60s, 70s and 80s rock and Northern Soul.”
An upstairs room at the bar will also host weekly and monthly events.