One of the area’s oldest pubs is entering a new chapter with a new look.
Once a coaching inn, the Grey Horse at Front Street in East Boldon has been serving up ale since the 15th century.
Now £360,000 has been invested in the Grade II-listed building by owners Stonegate Pub Company who are hoping to build on its food offering, while also sticking with the real ales which have made it popular with punters in the past.
After being closed for a month, it reopened this week to reveal its new look and menu.
General manager James Milligan said: “The pub had become massively dated and everything needed re-doing. We’ve kept the history of the place with the original brickwork and beams but we’ve also modernised it with new back bar, flooring and furnishings. All the chairs were wooden before and everything is a lot more comfortable and welcoming now.
“The toilets have also been completely changed, which is something that really needed doing.”
The historic exterior has also been revamped with specialists drafted in to restore the framework. Changes also include an extension to the kitchen so that meals can be made on site.
James added: “The pub is a gem, with a great reputation for real ale. We’re building on that, developing our food, going all fresh, creating a relaxed atmosphere and giving people even more reason to travel out and experience our heritage.”
The drinks range has also been extended. A sixth hand pull will add to the cask ale range with craft beers such as Brewdog IPA and Brooklyn Lager also added to the bar, as well as a new gin and cocktail menu.
Despite a low key reopening ahead of a main launch event tonight, James says the new look is already proving a hit.
“The response so far has been unbelievable,” said James. “We haven’t really advertised yet but people have noticed the changes to the front and have been coming in to have a look. The positive feedback makes all the stress of the refurbishment worthwhile.