First look inside Sunderland's new Street Bar ahead of opening for the England v Scotland game
A building that stands as a landmark gateway to the city centre is streets ahead after undergoing a £250,000 refurbishment.
The former Revolution bar in the Victoria Buildings, in Low Row, has been completely transformed and opens to the public on June 18 as Street Bar.
Themed around sports from around the world, the new bar has 15 75-inch Sony Bravia 4k screens and is opening in time for the England v Scotland Euros clash.
As well as being able to watch sports indoors, six of the screens face outdoors where people can watch all the action from a new outdoor seating area.
Street Bar has been brought to the city by Theatre Leisure which owns the popular Rabbit bar opposite and is the first phase of their plans for the buildings, which also includes the creation of Victoria’s Loft, a terrace bar upstairs which will open when restrictions are lifted.
Lee Robson, company director of the hospitality group along with David Guy, said: “We’ve had our eye on this site for years as we could see it wasn’t reaching its potential. We’ve put our heart and soul into the renovations."
General manager Lee Smith said: “It was a shell when we got the keys, so we started from scratch. We’ve had great feedback from the images we’ve posted on Facebook, we just can’t wait to have people in now.”
Paul Lowe from Inn Place themed interiors sourced sports memorabilia from around the world for the decor, which also includes a former Nascar track racing
Visitors to the bar will be able to request sports to be shown on the screens, which will each show different sports apart from when big tournaments are on, such as the Euros.
Tens of thousands of pounds has also been invested in the kitchen and food will also be available in the coming weeks with eight different varieties of hot dog, themed around different sports, as well as corn dogs, burgers, jalapeño cheese poppers, fried pickles and more.
Sister venue The Rabbit, which is also going to have a makeover, has been proving popular since reopening and Lee Smith says it’s great to see people coming back to city centre venues.
“The Rabbit has been going brilliantly, we didn’t expect so many people to be coming along and on some days they’re queuing up,” he said. “This area is undergoing a lot of investment with new bars and the Auditorium, which is great to see. We just need the Empire to open back up as that’s the cherry on the top.”
The transformation of the 12,500 sq ft four-storey space into Street Bar and Victoria’s Loft has created 25 new jobs so far and was helped by a heritage grant to support the Victorian buildings being given new life.
Other new additions in the area include Halo, which has opened in the former Bud Bigalows site at the other end of Low Row.
*Street Bar will be open seven days a week and there’s no need to book. Until restrictions are lifted it’s table service only.