The Peacock pub announces closure due to rapidly declining footfall caused by coronavirus

The management at one of Sunderland’s oldest pubs have announced its closure after rapidly declining footfall caused by coronavirus.

Friday, 25th September 2020, 2:04 pm
The Peacock, in High Street West, Sunderland.

Barry Hyde, frontman of The Futureheads, and business partner Dan Donnelly, who’s performed with Celtic Social Club, The Wonder Stuff and The Levellers, took over the lease at The Peacock, in Keel Square, in October last year.

They had big plans for the Grade II-listed building, which has undergone extensive refurbishment in recent years and repair works to bring it back to its Edwardian glory.

They’d managed to attract new custom to the site, which dates back to 1901 and is a cornerstone of the city’s emerging culture quarter, with a strong line up of live music upstairs and a varied menu on offer downstairs.

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Barry Hyde and Dan Donnelly (right) pictured when they took over The Peacock last year

However, like all hospitality businesses, the pub had to close its doors in March and just days after reopening in the summer, despite the necessary precautions being taken, a staff member was among others in the city who tested positive for Covid-19 which meant it had to undergo a deep clean before opening up again.

A local lockdown has further impacted the city’s bars, pubs and restaurants and now Barry and Dan have decided to close the pub.

A statement on the pub’s Facebook page reads: “Due to a rapidly decreasing footfall and clearly slim chances of that changing in the immediate future, we have decided to close the pub until further notice.

"We are really sad about this, as you can imagine. The current circumstances aren't manageable and we have to protect the long-term vision we have for the building at large. Not only that but it's soul destroying, when you put every ounce of energy in to something and see it suffer because of things that are essentially out of your control.

Inside the historic pub

"Anyone in the pub/events business knows how much passion and drive it takes to just open the doors and there aren't many better feelings than seeing those efforts morph in to happy times, jubilance and memories for staff and guests alike.

"We have seen a rapid decline in turnover, up to 75% below average on some days. Which is just terrifying. With no football, no private parties and no substantial gigs we have to accept that the only other option would be to run at a loss in order to remain open and this would substantially jeopardise our present and future situations.

"All scheduled events for 2020 will either be cancelled or rescheduled accordingly. We will review the situation as the next few months progress with regards to anything we have booked for 2021, it feels too early to make that call right now. So with a heavy heart but a glimmering sensation of hope we say: STAY SAFE, BE BRAVE, WE WILL BE BACK, WE WILL DANCE AND DRINK AND SING AGAIN

"Barry and Dan.”

The pub pictured before lockdown

Other city pubs are preparing for a second weekend in local lockdown, which means a curfew of 10pm, table service only and patrons advised not to visit with people outside of their household or bubble.

Many publicans remain optimistic, however, and hope that people will still support local business as much as possible, while doing so safely.

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Gigs and events had been planned for the upstairs room

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