After months of anticipation, the new roof garden has finally opened its doors as part of the major refit of The Cooper Rose in Albion Place.
The Wetherspoons pub reopened its doors in January after seven months closed following a full internal refit, which has gone down well with punters.
Now, after major structural works, which take the full refit total to £2.2million, the pub has opened its 3,000sq ft roof terrace from noon on April 29 – just in time for the May Bank Holiday weekend.
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The Cooper Rose is one of the flagship bars in the chain’s North East portfolio and the terrace is a major new addition to the historic building, which has created 60 new jobs for the city, with recruitment ongoing.
While the front of the building has a pitched roof, the two thirds at the rear have a flat roof which has been utilised for the terrace, which seats around 200 people.
The idea for the roof garden was first mooted ten years ago, so deputy manager Sam Bell says it’s fantastic to see it finally come to life.
"This has been 10 years in the making and it looks phenomenal, I don’t think there’s anything like this in the city,” he said.
There’s been a number of delays in the build, but Sam says they’re looking forward to finally being able to welcome people to the new area, which has its own bar and also offers the full Wetherspoons menu, which can be ordered via the app only.
He added: “It adds so much to the pub. There has been a number of delays, but we really wanted to make sure it was perfect before we opened. There’s been a lot of interest from our customers and we’re looking forward to a good Bank Holiday weekend, especially if the weather stays like this.”
Speaking about the full refit, he said: “It’s been transformative. The pub wasn’t old, but it needed lightening up and taking the dance floor out and making it level has made it more access friendly. We also have a lift to the roof terrace so everyone can enjoy it.”
The terrace, which is non-smoking, can also be accessed via a new staircase which has been built on the second floor.
With the covid vaccine being in the news in recent months, it’s rather fitting that The Cooper Rose is named after another vaccine.
In 1890, Dr Henry Renney, the public vaccinator for Sunderland, was living in Albion Place. He advocated the use of The Cooper Rose vaccinator and his thoughts on public vaccination went on to be published in the British Medical Journal.
The internal redesign also honours the city’s shipbuilding history, with a colour palette inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement from the turn of the last century, as well as art works depicting the shipyards.
The new Cooper Rose roof terrace has the same opening hours as the pub: 8am-11pm seven days a week.