New bar to open at empty landmark Sunderland city centre pub site

New bar P's & Q's to open soon. 
From left manager Lawrence Norman and owner Chris Bungoni
New bar P's & Q's to open soon. From left manager Lawrence Norman and owner Chris Bungoni
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They’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s at P’s & Q’s as Sunderland’s newest bar prepares to open its doors.

After lying empty for around eight months, new life has been breathed into the former Conservatory pub in Tunstall Road which will open as P’s & Q’s next Friday, July 14.

New bar P's & Q's to open soon. 
From left manager Lawrence Norman and owner Chris Bungoni

New bar P's & Q's to open soon. From left manager Lawrence Norman and owner Chris Bungoni

For the past couple of months builders have been working to transform the landmark site, which is well-known for its location on the Durham Road roundabout into the city centre.

Ongoing work includes changing the external colour of purple, which caused controversy at the time, to a pale grey and giving the interior a new identity of feature wallpapers and exposed brickwork.

The bar is the brainchild of new owner Chris Bungoni who’s been a DJ in the city for more than ten years at venues including Independent, Port of Call and The Point.

He believes although the site has undergone numerous changes over the years, including stints as Kilmartin’s, Substance and Bar 1, it has the potential to be a success story.

“I’ve always wanted my own place in Sunderland city centre, Sunderland night life is my life and I want to see it thrive,” said Chris.

He added: “This is a prime location at an entrance to the city centre and it’s a real shame to see it shut. Other new bars and restaurants are opening in the city centre and that’s having a snowball effect and encouraging other businesses to open. There can be negativity, but just because one business has failed it doesn’t mean another one will.

“You just need to give people a good reason to keep coming, which we think we will. We’ve already had a lot of people walking past and coming in for a look and they are pleased something is being done with the site.”

Due to Chris’ musical background there will be an emphasis on live DJ’s who will play disco, funk and ‘90s classic house.

The drinks menu is also set to offer something different to the norm with twists on classic cocktails, as well as regular lagers and ciders on draught and a selection of bottled beers from across the world.

The bar will initially open from Fridays to Tuesdays with a view to increasing its hours and introducing a food menu in the future.

Chris says he’ll be working alongside nearby businesses including Roma, Royal Thai and Marcello’s in a bid to encourage custom in this corner of the city.

“There’s some great businesses around here and it’s great for people to have a bar to go to after their meal,” he said. “Not only do the businesses benefit, the customers do too.”