The Botanist celebrates Sunderland success with more than 30,000 visitors and 14,000 cocktails sold

It's one of the best-performing Botanists in the country.
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It was a new market for the national Botanist brand, but opening in Sunderland has proved a blooming good addition to the hospitality group's portfolio.

The Sunderland Botanist is one of the best-performing in the groupThe Sunderland Botanist is one of the best-performing in the group
The Sunderland Botanist is one of the best-performing in the group

The new Sunderland branch in Keel Square is one of the best-performing of the 35 Botanists across the country, competing with much-larger sites in cities with larger populations, such as Cardiff.

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Since opening on January 30, the Sunderland site has had 32,000 visitors through the doors and sold 14, 294 cocktails - and that's before they've had their first Bank Holiday in the city this weekend.

Mary O'Shea, operations manager at New World Trading Co, who own the Botanist brand, said they're delighted with the response.

"The reception has been overwhelming really," she said "We have been so welcomed by Sunderland. A lot of people from the area used to go to the Newcastle branch and they seem really happy to now have a Botanist on their doorstep.

"Our launch night here was one of the biggest responses we've ever had to an opening."

Cocktails have been a big seller at the barCocktails have been a big seller at the bar
Cocktails have been a big seller at the bar
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The bar area has proved particularly popular at the site, which hosts live music every weekend.

Mary said: "What's great about this site is that it goes so far back so we can have a separate bar area to the restaurant section which people like. It's got a very unique feel to it, like a secret garden. The decor in this site is stunning and it screams 'Botanist', it's what the brand is all about."

The Sunderland Botanist is part of wave of investment in the city centre, which in recent years has seen the rise of Keel Square to become a public square for the city.

The outdoor area is set to come into its own this summerThe outdoor area is set to come into its own this summer
The outdoor area is set to come into its own this summer

Mary said: "It's exciting to be a part of all the regeneration in Sunderland, you can really feel that it's attracting people to Sunderland while also keeping more residents in the city."

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The Keel Square bars will soon lie close to one end of the new pedestrian bridge currently in construction on the Wear and due to open in 2025, which will link the multi-million pound Riverside developments on both sides of the river, which is hailed as one of the most-ambitious regeneration projects in the country.

Open seven days a week, from brunch through to evening meals and Sunday lunches, the site is dog and family friendly and also hosts a monthly bingo night on the first Wednesday of every month, which has been well received.

Inside, the venue comprises 136 covers in the restaurant and a greater capacity at the bar. It also has an outdoor area comprised of 80 seats with heaters.

In the warmer months, bi-fold doors will open so that outside drinkers and diners can enjoy the live music, too - and it's set to really come into use in the coming weeks as temperatures rise.

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It joins neighbour Keel Tavern, which has also proved a hugely-popular addition to the city, with attention now turning to The Muddler who are forging ahead with their plans to open in the corner unit beneath Holiday Inn this year.

A fourth venue, in the unit facing onto High Street West, is expected to be announced soon.

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