Owners take over Seaham's popular Coalface micropub

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The micropub is back under the management of the owners.

A popular pub which honours Seaham’s rich industrial history is back under the management of its owners.

Business partners Andy Smith and Mark Milroy established The Coalface pub in 2019, creating a traditional pub in a former shop unit at the bottom of Church Street.

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It’s had a number of guises over the years, from a barbers to a butchers, but the local businessmen gave the unit new life with tributes to the former pits which once dominated the town’s skyline, Vane Tempest, Dawdon and The Knack, as well as those who worked at the sites.

Alongside images of the long gone pits are walls of wooden panels, inscribed with the names of miners who toiled at the sites, a tribute which is growing all the time with new names added.

After the lease ran out with the previous managers, Mark and Andy took it back in house and after some renovation works it reopened a fortnight ago.

The micropub has plenty of characterThe micropub has plenty of character
The micropub has plenty of character

Andy said: “After buying the building in September 2018, we built The Coalface from the ground up. It’s been tremendous to be back seeing plenty of old faces since we reopened, as well as some new customers.”

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After buying the building, they created three new businesses for the town, with Slice Seaham slinging pizza from the rear hatch, which can also be ordered to eat in the pub, as well as an Air BnB on the top floor, which is fully booked for the foreseeable with sea glass hunters travelling from as far afield as Alaska.

The pub honours the town's mining historyThe pub honours the town's mining history
The pub honours the town's mining history

They also recently took on the historic Londonderry’s, along with fellow Seaham business man Gavin Hardy, transforming the  two upper floors of the Georgian building with a new wine bar and renovated rooms, which again have received a flood of bookings.

Formerly The Londonderry Arms Inn, the landmark building opposite Byron Place, was the first building to be commenced in the new town of Seaham Harbour in November 1828. “Seaham has so much to offer visitors,” said Andy. “There’s obviously a lot of offer for walkers, but also sea glass hunting, the Lifeboat Museum, Tommy, Seaham Hall as well as all the bars.”

The town is currently adjusting to the new parking charges which have been introduced at the seafront across six carparks: Vane Tempest, Terrace Green (beside the Tommy statue), Dock Top (opposite Bell's fish and chips), Nose's Point, Seaham Marina and the Seaham Hall car park (which surrounds the North Beach coffee bar).

The owners took over after the lease ran out with the previous tenantsThe owners took over after the lease ran out with the previous tenants
The owners took over after the lease ran out with the previous tenants

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The Coalface and Slice, however, are next to Green Street car park which is still free to use.

“We’ve not been affected as much as the other businesses, but it undoubtedly has had an affect elsewhere,” said Andy.

The pub gave new life to the shop unit at the bottom of Church StreetThe pub gave new life to the shop unit at the bottom of Church Street
The pub gave new life to the shop unit at the bottom of Church Street

“The industry has been squeezed at the minute and it’s a worrying time. It’s a fine balance because we didn’t want to have to increase prices at our businesses because people are being squeezed, but so are we, with even the cost of basic ingredients going up.”

Moving forward, the team is planning to bring back the quiz at The Coalface, as well as working with neighbouring business Sm’ash Burger so that people can order burgers into the pub, with pizza and pint offers as well a burger and pint offers.

The pub also remains dog-friendly.

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