I’M a sucker for a ye olde worlde pub. But unlike some watering holes which masquerade as historic gems to capitalise on nostalgia, The Shipwrights is a genuine jewel in Wearside’s river history crown.
It bills itself as Sunderland’s oldest pub, with a history dating back 350 years to the days of sailing shops and riverside trading.
Not much seems to have changed around the pub along the years – it’s situated down a windy lane off Wessington Way on a quiet spot of the river with not much else around.
But its secluded setting only adds to the relaxed charm of this destination pub.
With its beamed ceiling, stone fireplaces, quirky nick nacks dotted about the place and seating that has probably seen better days, it certainly has that ‘good old days’ character in bucket loads.
I visited on a Sunday with Echo wife Cara and her whippersnapper Tate.
He’s at that age where he likes to clamber all over us and whatever his neighbouring surroundings might be.
But the staff at the pub were lovely and seemed more than happy to let the little man explore the place. Mid-afternoon and The Shipwrights was quiet aside from a few regulars, but there’s plenty of cosy corners where you can sit and gossip your time away.
There wasn’t masses of choice on the Sunday lunch menu but I guess it does the trick if you’re after a traditional roast.
For £6.25 you can choose a roast dinner with Yorkshire pudding and a choice of beef, lamb, pork and chicken.
To start, there’s an oddly named “soup of the moment” for £3.50.
There was also a specials board for a fish or vegetarian option.
However, we were after something a little more stodgy and chose the hot beef sandwich with gravy and chips.
For our £4.10 each, we were presented with a veritable carb overload: whopping great chunks of beef in a white bap with huge chunky chips.
It was served in traditional gravy just like your mum makes and we asked for a separate gravy boat so we could smother it some more.
The beef was tip top and the chips were so big you had to tackle them in instalments.
We had chosen to sit in the bar, but there is also a restaurant area which during the week serves dishes including venison and bacon casserole (£8.95), Shipwright’s mixed grill (£11.95) and slow cooked beef (£9).
As it was lunchtime we stuck to soft drinks which were £1.20 for a lemonade. It was served from a bottle as was Tate’s orange squash, told you this place was old skool.
But for those after the hard stuff, there seemed to be a good selection of real ales and draught beer.