THOUSANDS of entries poured into the Echo after we launched our first Excellence Awards – and today we can reveal the shortlist.
Run in conjunction with our weekly entertainments guide, WOW 24/7, the awards are your chance to recognise arts, culture and entertainment in the city.
The judges faced a tough decision whittling down the entries from the hundreds we received, but feel those chosen represent a broad wealth of unique businesses and groups in the city.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Best Western Roker Hotel on February 27.
Echo deputy editor Richard Ord, who sat on the judging panel, said: “With so many excellent entries in the competition, there was much lively debate for the judges ... and great difficulty picking winners from such a wealth of talent.
“It’s clear from the many nominations that our Excellence Awards have struck a chord with the Wearside public and it’s clear that this year’s ceremony will be a great success.” Among those short-listed are Frankie & the Heartstrings and their venture Pop Recs Ltd in the Contribution to Culture Category.
The band has been praised for transforming a derelict shop in Fawcett Street into a cultural hub for the city providing free gigs by national acts, a platform for local artists to showcase their work, a record shop and an independent coffee shop.
Sunderland Pride is one of four short-listed in the Community Event of the Year award.
After the inaugural event in 2011, Sunderland Pride has gone on to become the city’s largest celebration of diversity.
Around 10,000 take part in the day-long festival which features a colourful parade through the city centre as well as the creation of an entertainment village in Park Lane.
Restaurant of the Year: D’acqua; Martino’s; Asiana Fusion; Mama Italia
Children’s Entertainer of the Year: ARTVentures; Emma Enchanted; Laura Joy Smith
Show and Performance of the Year: Remember Jim at Arts Centre Washington; The Tempest by Theatre Space North East
Pub of the Year: The Rosedene; Ttonic; Gatsby’s; The Guide Post; The Stables; Lola’s Bar
Social Club Of the Year: South Hylton Working Men’s Club; Steels Social Club; Grindon Social Club
Nightclub of the Year: Independent; Passion; The Point
Recreation Facility/ Childrens’ Venue of the Year: Keep Kids Active; Arts Centre Washington; DEXX North East; Cookies Funtime
Takeaway of the year: Downey Fish and chip Restaurant; Dixy Chicken; Pizza Uno; Rino’s; Borneo Bistro
Park / Community area of the year: Sunderland Live Roker Park; Theatre Space North East; Barnes Park; Dexx North East
Contribution to culture: Sunny Con; Pop Recs by Frankie & the Heartstrings; South Tyneside Against Bullying; National Glass Centre; Sunderland Empire
Hotel/ Guest house of the year: Quality Hotel Boldon; Best Western Roker Hotel; The Chaise Guest House; The George Washington
Cocktail maker of the year: Bar Justice; Revolution; Dr Feelgood’s
Best Shopping Experience: Pussy Doll Palace; Kings Jewellers; The Galleries; Primark Sunderland
Community Event of the Year: The Bigger MIX; Ryhope Community Carnival; Sunderland Pride; Sunderland Live
Lifetime Achievement Award: To be announced on the night