LOLA’S is painting the town red with its unique blend of 1950s glamour meets contemporary chic.
It may only be two months old, but this new kid on the pub block seems to be fast making a name for itself.
Indeed, there’s no other city watering hole quite like Lola’s. You have to hand it to the girl, she’s got style – buckets of it.
The decor’s a bit boudoir – moody lighting and red velvet seating – and a bit quirky, flamingo wallpaper and butterflies flitting across the windows, but blends together well in a cocktail of taste and sophistication.
We took our seats in one of the VIP booths, which can be hired and roped off, if you’re feeling celeb-like.
Another bonus to the booth is that you can opt for table service instead of fighting it out for your turn at the bar.
We visited on a Friday night and the place was booming. Lola’s Saturday nights have proven popular too with queues snaking around the block.
Drinks-wise, there’s a good choice on offer, ranging from the usual spirits and mixers to cocktails.
The bar has teamed up with Smirnoff to ensure all the base spirits for its drinks are premium brands, but the prices are still reasonable at £2.10 for a single; £3.10 for a double and £4.10 for a treble.
As always, cocktails – which include Bellini, Lola’s Cherry Cola, Cheeky Vimto and more – are a slightly pricier affair at around the £4-£4.50 mark.
I chose the strawberry daiquiri, a fruity little number of fresh strawberries, white rum, sugar, strawberry liquor and lime.
It was well made, delicious and worth the extra pennies.
The bar staff will be working with mixologists every few months to alter the cocktail menu in keeping with the seasons.
Meanwhile, the bar is stocked with umpteen trendy tipples – Grey Goose, Belvedere, Petrone and Tequila – which you can buy by the bottle for group parties. A bottle of Grey Goose with two jugs of mixer will set you back £70.
For beer monsters, a pint of John Smiths is £2.80 with Amstel at £3.
If you really want your night to go with a swing, there’s also a good choice of champagnes from Louis Dornier to Dom Perignon.
Lola’s does tunes differently from the Sunderland norm too. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the flavour is distinctly house and old skool with Andrew Atkinson, aka DJ Oneluv, on the decks.
In the coming weeks the bar will also open as a cafe during the day serving paninis, snacks and coffees.
Other bars on this prime location – take BoAb for instance – have failed, but maybe Lola’s is what the site – and the city – have been waiting for.
In a drinking circuit that’s awash with more run-of-the-mill bars, Lola’s is an independent woman who’s daring to be that bit different.