Sunderland pub boss back behind the bar at village watering hole

Former Vaux manager Geoff Porteous taking over the Cottage pub in Cleadon after seven-year break from the trade, pictured with one of his bar staff, Sara Murray.
Former Vaux manager Geoff Porteous taking over the Cottage pub in Cleadon after seven-year break from the trade, pictured with one of his bar staff, Sara Murray.
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A WEARSIDE publican is back behind the pumps after a gap of seven years.

Geoff Porteous is the new manager at The Cottage in Cleadon, which has been bought by a company run by former Vaux Breweries director Magnus Wilson.

Geoff, 55, previously kept the Borough in Sunderland city centre for Vaux for 10 years from the mid-1980s, although his time in the trade goes back much longer.

“I did a few years in the building trade before deciding I wanted to run a pub,” he said.

“I trained with Scottish and Newcastle and my first pub was the Dun Cow, next to the Empire. “In those days, the mines and shipyards were still open and the trade was very different.

“The shipyard painters used to ask for a pint of gloss if they wanted your best beer, or a pint of flat white if they wanted the cheaper one.

“Half and half – Exhibition and Scotch – was a popular drink, as was the likes of port and lemon for the ladies.”

After leaving the Borough, Geoff kept several pubs in and around Sunderland including the Londonderry, Flying Boat and Blue Bell in Fulwell, and a pub in Darlington.

“I took a break from it,” he said. “I’ve been working part-time at a job in the NHS which was great, but I really needed something full-time to provide for me and my son.

“The Cottage is a nice, traditional pub and that’s how it will stay.

“Cleadon is a good area and the customers have been great. The pub just needs a bit of TLC to bring in a few more people.

“Drinking is not cheap these days, so you have to provide a welcoming, safe environment, and you have to look after customers properly.”