Music and function room opens at Sunderland’s Peacock pub

The Peacock's new function room, formerly Flares.
The Peacock's new function room, formerly Flares.
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A former retro-themed bar has ditched its disco balls to open as a multi-purpose function room.

Following the opening of The Peacock in the former Londonderry at the end of May, it’s now opened its first floor room which will host live music and comedy nights, as well as being available to hire for functions and meetings.

Sunderland City centre.
Keel Square and The Peacock

Sunderland City centre. Keel Square and The Peacock

Tens of thousands of pounds have been ploughed into converting the room, which hadn’t been touched since its time as ‘80s bar Reflex.

Joe Smith from Pub Culture Ltd, who operate the pub on behalf of owners Mac Trust, said: “It was like the Mary Celeste when we went in there, everything was still there, such as glasses on the tables and loads of mirror balls, even though it hadn’t been used for years.

“It was verging on being derelict and needed a lot of work, which is why it took longer to open than the pub downstairs.”

As part of the new chapter at the site, bosses have teamed up with promoters from Think Tank to stage regular gigs at the venue room from mid-August.

Joe said: “We’re going to be staging some well-known music names, who we can’t announce yet, as well as acting as a platform for emerging local talent. The beauty of the room is that it’s really versatile, and has its own entrance, bar and toilets, so can be used for everything from meetings to christenings. “There aren’t many function rooms in the city centre so it helps to fill a gap in the market.”

The opening of the function room, which had also been Flares ‘70s pub prior to Reflex, is the final stage in the restoration of the historic Grade I-listed pub.

After months of building work, it reopened as The Peacock, so called after the coaching inn which stood on the site from 1770 to 1834.

The landmark building is a key feature in the transformation of the area into a culture quarter.

Prior to acquiring The Peacock, The Mac Trust bought and restored its sister pub The Dun Cow and are behind the £3.6million development of the Old Fire Station into a restaurant, cafe, heritage centre and dance and drama studios.

Though some people objected to the change of name from The Londonderry to The Peacock, general manager Dan Luke said the new pub was proving popular.

He said: “It usually takes three to four months for a new pub to build a regular crowd, but six weeks in we are performing beyond expectations. We’re more of a destination pub because of our location in the town and aren’t on a circuit as such, but we tend to share our crowd with The Dun Cow.”