First look inside the £1 million transformation of The Copt Hill pub by brains behind the Roker Hotel and Poetic License Gin - plus memories of SAFC FA Cup-winning hero Bobby Kerr
The landmark Copt Hill pub is entering a new chapter after a £1million transformation.
With its hill top site overlooking Houghton, Hetton and beyond, The Copt Hill is one of the best-known pubs in the area and, after being closed for more than a year, it reopens with a whole new look and menu from this weekend.
New owner Tavistock Hospitality has spent the past five months completely revamping the historic site, creating a new orangery and bar at the front to open up the space, whilst also building a new terrace so visitors can take advantage of its panoramic views.
It’s been a real labour of love for the hospitality firm, which bought the site in memory of the successful company’s founder Mark Hird, who passed away in 2019 aged just 46.
Mark worked at the pub in the early days of his career – meeting his wife Nicola there – in partnership with 1973 SAFC hero Bobby Kerr, before selling it on, but he had long wanted to get the site back in the Tavistock portfolio.
Now, it will reopen in his honour, with plenty to attract people back through the doors, including memorabilia such as gloves Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz, the jacket worn by Sean Connery in spy film The Russia House, an original programme from Madison Square Gardens on the night Marilyn Monroe sang happy birthday to JFK, a Dumbo print signed by Walt Disney, trousers worn by Marlon Brando in Desiree, a Pulp Fiction print signed by John Travolta, Margot Fonteyn’s ballet shoes, a racing car helmet worn by Nigel Mansell, The Beatles’ birth certificates and much more.
General manager Paul Stevens said there has already been a great reaction to the news the pub will finally be reopening.
“It had been boarded up since before Covid and only briefly reopened post-pandemic before closing again, so I think people are really glad to see something being done with the place,” he said.
"The pub has a real sentimental connection for Tavistock and we wanted to create something Mark would be proud of – a good pub, serving good food.
"The builders have a done a fantastic job and worked really hard, including building a whole new bar, I don’t think the pub has ever looked so good in all its years.”
There will be 140 covers in total at the dog-friendly site, with food served in the bar and restaurant area, and a new terrace which can accommodate double that, with 20 new jobs created by the transformation.
A new open kitchen has been created where chefs will be preparing bar snacks, pizzas, burgers, sharing boards, grill dishes and mains such as home-made steak and ale pie, slow cooked lamb shank and Thai red chicken curry.
Meanwhile, the bar, which shows Sky Sports, has draught options such as Double Maxim, Timothy Taylor, Inch’s cider, Tiger and guest ales from the likes of Anarchy Brew Co.
Other options include gins from Tavistock’s hugely-successful Poetic License distillery.
Prices start from £4.30 for a pint of cask and £4.20 for a pint of John Smith’s.
The Copt Hill is set to be a new flagship site for Tavistock, following the news it has put its Roker Hotel venue up for sale.
The firm’s other ventures in the area, which will be sister sites to The Copt Hill, include The Lambton Worm, in Chester-le-Street, and The Italian Farmhouse, in West Rainton.
*The Copt Hill opens to the public from 12pm on Saturday, November 5, and will be open seven days a week thereafter, from noon until 11pm.