Bar 1313 has opened on the corner of West Sunniside and High Street West in the former Mr Jack’s and new owner Dale Percival says he’s hoping for a strong summer as more independent businesses open their doors in this corner of the city centre.
Named after the fact both Dale’s sons, Jude and Louie, are born on Friday, the 13th, Dale has given the bar a new, more contemporary look with feature wallpapers, panelling and new seating.
He also runs the neighbouring Church Door, Sunderland’s smallest bar, and when the opportunity came up to take over the bar next door he jumped at the chance.
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"Mr Jack’s closed just after Christmas and the site has the same landlord as Church Door, so when it became available I asked him if I could take it on. We didn’t want another empty bar in the street,” he explained.
"The Church Door can only hold a couple of dozen people and that’s part of its attraction as it has a great atmosphere. But 1313 has a totally different vibe and is much larger. Because of Church Door’s size we can’t have draught and it’s more cocktail based, but at this bar we can offer more variety.
“It’s a great spot on the corner and it’s ideal for people wanting to come for a drink before and after dinner. We get a much older crowd at this end of town, rather than at the top end, it’s more people in their 30s and 40s who want to catch up with their mates.”
As well as the existing Sunniside businesses, a number of new bars, such as Cafe 1851 at Mackie’s Corner and 808 in John Street have opened over the past couple of years.
New restaurant tenants are also set to move into the empty Frankie & Benny’s and Infinity Pizza units in the Limelight complex around the cinema in the coming months.
Dale said: “It’s fantastic to see new places opening up. You’ve got a really good circuit in Sunniside now with some great independents such as Manor Bar, Sam’s Bar, Looking Glass, Church Door, Bar Justice and Angelo’s.
"It’s a really supportive community, we all have a Sunniside Whatsapp group and we all help each other out. Restaurants are a really important part of driving footfall, especially Angelo’s, as we get a lot of custom from drinks before or after dinner. We call Federico from Angelo’s ‘the Godfather of West Sunniside’ as he really helps to drive footfall for all the other businesses.
"Last summer we had a really good amount of people coming to Sunniside, it goes quieter in the colder months, but we’re hoping for a strong summer again this year with the concerts at the Stadium of Light, Pride festival and the Jubilee weekend.”
Work is also ongoing to transform the upstairs function room upstairs at Bar 1313 which will be available for private hire.