The owners of the historic Dun Cow pub have formed a new company to run the watering hole as a key element in the city’s emerging cultural quarter.
Owners Leighton Management, who bought the pub and restored it to its former Edwardian glory in 2014, have reached an agreement with Camerons Brewery to take control of the pub in High Street West.
They’ve established a new company, Pub Culture Ltd, to run the Grade II-listed venue which is part of the Music, Art and Culture (MAC) Quarter that is centred around the ongoing transformation of the adjacent Old Fire Station.
As well as turning the fire station into a restaurant, dance and music studios and a proposed auditorium next to the station, the MAC Quarter incorporates the Londonderry where regeneration work is also ongoing. It will also be run by Pub Culture Ltd after being acquired by the Mac Trust earlier this year and work has begun to strip out the former Flares bar on the first floor.
Under Camerons management the Dun Cow won two National Pub Design Awards from the Campaign For Real Ale group (CAMRA) and the brewer will continue to work with Pub Culture with a supply deal in place.
After Longhorns restaurant closed in the pub’s function room last month, it will be used as a venue for live music and comedy with the first events happening in the coming weeks.
“The Dun Cow is integral to the development of the MAC Quarter,” said Paul Callaghan of the MAC Trust. “Camerons have been a fantastic partner in establishing it once more as a pub that Sunderland can be proud of, and we are delighted that the brewery will continue to supply the Dun Cow with its superb range of beers and spirits, that have become firm favourites with the city’s pub goers.”
Chris Soley, chief executive of Camerons said: “It has been a pleasure working with Paul and his team at the Dun Cow. The work he has done to develop the site and his vision of what he intends to do in the area is the reason we started working with him.
“Following discussions with Paul it became clear that the Dun Cow was an integral part of the MAC Trust’s development of the cultural quarter which they are developing. The plans they have in place look extremely exciting so we reached an agreement with him to hand the venue back so they could use this to form a key part of the development.
“We have a supply deal in place to continue to provide the extensive range of beers the venue has in place and we will agreed to offer support and guidance to Paul and his team.”
The cultural quarter is regarded as a key component in Sunderland’s bid to be named City of Culture 2021.
Helen Green, director of the MAC’s Fire Station development, which is due to open next autumn, will also be in charge of programming the Dun Cow’s entertainment.
“We’re already looking to programme events and activities into the upstairs room at the Dun Cow and hope to host our first events before Christmas. It’s an intimate space, ideal for music, comedy or something a little bit different and will just add to the creative vibrancy and growing offer of what is fast becoming the city’s cultural quarter,” she said.
All the management and staff at the Dun Cow will retain their jobs with Pub Culture Ltd.