Inside the finished Seaburn Tram Shelter in Sunderland, and a look at the menu ahead of opening

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The Tram Shelter will welcome its first customers tomorrow, December 1.

Sunderland Echo

It's been three years in the planning, with months of painstaking restoration works, but The Tram Shelter is all ready to welcome its first customers.

Opening weekend is already fully booked for the eagerly-anticipated new addition to the seafront, which has seen new life being breathed into the Grade II-listed tram shelter.

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The shelter is ready to welcome its first customerThe shelter is ready to welcome its first customer
The shelter is ready to welcome its first customer | Sunderland Echo

Trams ceased at the Victorian shelter in 1954 and although it was still used by many as seating, the structure was much in need of repair.

Now, it's one of three historic buildings, along with North and Tin of Sardines, revamped as part of a £850,000 investment from Sunderland City Council and The Coastal Communities Fund.

White picket fencing has been replicated from old photos of the shelterWhite picket fencing has been replicated from old photos of the shelter
White picket fencing has been replicated from old photos of the shelter | Sunderland Echo

For this project, it's seen additional investment from the Blacks Corner team, who've had great success with their Blacks Corner bistro and deli in East Boldon.

Much like those sites, they've honoured the heritage of The Tram Shelter, using as much of the original materials as possible, including repurposing the original panelling into the bar area, using parts of the original roof as shelving and utilising the existing Victorian iron fretwork.

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Even the bin store has been modelled as beach huts, in keeping with the seafront's aesthetic.

Other nods to the site's past, include decor such as framed tram tickets and old Sunderland tram models on the shelving.

Northumberland crab on sourdoughNorthumberland crab on sourdough
Northumberland crab on sourdough | Sunderland Echo

A white picket fence and plants which once framed the old shelter at the turn of the last century have also been replicated.

The Echo visited the site earlier this month for a sneak peek and now the finishing touches have been made ahead of it opening at 9am tomorrow, including signage, 40 covers inside, additional seating outside which will be open once umbrellas and heaters have arrived, and a fully-stocked bar and kitchen.

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Scallops at The Tram ShelterScallops at The Tram Shelter
Scallops at The Tram Shelter | sn

Jonny Dryden, who owns Blacks Corner with business partner, Chris Lowden, said: "The response has been incredible. When we launched the bookings, the volume of traffic actually crashed the site within five minutes, but we managed to get it back up and running and emailed everyone back.

"We've limited the bookings, because we want the space to feel comfortable for people."

The site has been given new lifeThe site has been given new life
The site has been given new life | Sunderland Echo

The businessman added: "We had a soft launch this week for friends and family and it was great to see the place full, people love it.

"We've done so much to preserve the heritage of this site and keep the building (which opened in 1901) going for another 100 years. I particularly like the fencing, it really frames the site."

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Inside seats around 40 peopleInside seats around 40 people
Inside seats around 40 people | Sunderland Echo

When it was announced, back in 2020, that the shelter would be taken over a petition was launched to preserve its heritage.

The team at Blacks Corner have since been working alongside the Friends of Seaburn Tram Shelter and invited them along ahead of it opening to the public to show how much has been done to retain the historical integrity of the site.

As well as sit-in options, outdoor seating will open in the coming weeks. The bar area to the right of the entrance, as well as outside, are dog-friendly. The Tram Shelter also has its own toilets.

There is also a hatch serving takeaway coffees, sandwiches and more.

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On the menu

Drinks

There's a broad cocktail menuThere's a broad cocktail menu
There's a broad cocktail menu | sn

There's an extensive menu of coffees, made with Ouseburn Coffee Company coffee, hot chocolates, loose leaf teas, soft drinks, beers, ciders, spirits, cocktails, natural wines and Champagne.

Here's an example of just some of the options:

Flat white: £3.10

Chai latte: £3.30

Christmas spiced tea: £2.80

Pint of draught Birra Poretti: £5.50

The bar includes two draught optionsThe bar includes two draught options
The bar includes two draught options | sn

Pint of draught Brooklyn lager: £5.60

Selection of Vaux beers: £4.60

Aperol Spritz: £9.70

Margarita: £9.50

Red wine starts at £4.10 a glass, white wine from £4.50 and orange wine from £7.20

Food

Welsh rarebit from the food menuWelsh rarebit from the food menu
Welsh rarebit from the food menu | sn

There's a wide range of daytime and evening options including farmhouse cheeses, charcuterie, oysters, scallops, Welsh rarebit and Northumberland crab crostini.

A sample of the brunch options:

Avocado sourdough: £11

Halloumi and nduja hash: £9.50

Eggs benedict: £11.50

Butter pancakes: £9.50

Blacks Corner rancheros: £12

Roker rarebit: £8.50

How to book

Signage is now up at the siteSignage is now up at the site
Signage is now up at the site | Sunderland Echo

Opening weekend is already fully booked, and bookings have been flooding in for December, but there is some availability mid-week for bookings of up to 9 people. Parties of 6+ require a £10 deposit per person Walk ins are subject to availability.

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The Tram ShelterThe Tram Shelter
The Tram Shelter | Sunderland Echo

Dates for January will be released soon. Details will also soon be released for ticketed bookings on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve featuring the regular menu as well as seasonal specials.

To book, visit the Blacks Corner website at blackscorner.co.uk

The Tram Shelter, Seaburn, will be closed Mondays, and open for sit in Tuesdays 9am-4pm, Wednesday and Thursday 9am-10pm, Friday and Saturday 9am - 11pm and Sundays 11am to 8pm.

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