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New Irish bar opens at former Bar1 Sunderland

Tim (left) and Sean Kilmartin outside their Irish bar, on the Tunstall Road, roundabout, Sunderland.

Tim (left) and Sean Kilmartin outside their Irish bar, on the Tunstall Road, roundabout, Sunderland.

THEY’RE a long way from Tipperary - but brothers hope Irish eyes will be smiling as they take over a city centre landmark pub.

THEY’RE a long way from Tipperary - but brothers hope Irish eyes will be smiling as they take over a city centre landmark pub.

Sean and Tim Kilmartin tonight open Sunderland’s only Irish bar on the site of the former Bar1 overlooking the Durham Road and Tunstall Road roundabout.

Despite the pub being a well-known spot in the city centre, it’s stood derelict for more than a year.

In the past six weeks, the brothers, who hail from Tipperary, have ploughed £20,000 into giving the venue a total overhaul, including painting it a distinctive emerald green.

They believe Kilmartin’s, their Irish bar-cum-sports pub, can thrive on a site which has seen many guises over the years.

Since Paddy Whacks closed in Green Terrace, the city centre has been missing a dedicated Irish bar, but Sean says he thinks Kilmartin’s can fill the void.

Sean, who used to be a hospitality manager at the Stadium of Light before branching into his own businesses in South Tyneside, said: “I’ve always liked Sunderland. When I worked there it was the time of the Drumaville Consortium, there was a great feel good factor about the place and it was great to be part of that renaissance.

“I think Sunderland has always had a fondness for the Irish and Paddy Whacks was popular during its time.”

Sean’s other ventures include running the Tavistock Retro in South Shields and The White Lead gastro pub in Hebburn, but this is the first time he’s launched a business which reflects his Irish heritage.

As well as the exterior being given a new look, the interiors have been stripped of their white plasterboard to incorporate exposed brickwork, miners lamp-style lighting and football memorabilia which has been loaned to the brothers by SAFC.

Events at the new venue will include a regular buskers’ night and Sky Sports football screenings.

Sean, said: “There’s been a lot of interest from people while we’ve been doing up the site. When the guys were doing the painting outside they were getting stopped every three minutes to ask when we were opening.

“Because the building had been left so long it looked like a real eyesore. It is a risk opening here but I think the only reason it’s failed before is because it hasn’t been attacked right.”

•Kilmartin’s opens tonight from 7pm. There will be live music from ‘50s-style Irish American band The Sour Mash Trio.

 

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