See inside the new Brew & Bake coffee shop at £42m City Hall

A new coffee shop is helping to brew up a new chapter at Sunderland’s £42million City Hall.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 2:43 pm

Brew & Bake has opened on the ground floor of the impressive city centre building, which houses the new headquarters for Sunderland City Council as well as other office tenants, including Gentoo and DWP.

Operated by the council, it replaces The Social cafe at the Civic Centre, and has an improved offering, both aesthetically and menu-wise.

It’s already proving popular with people visiting the City Hall to register births and for weddings, as well as nearby office workers and cyclists passing on riverside bike rides.

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Brew & Bake has opened at the new City Hall

Open to everyone, the coffee shop is set to see even more trade as more people return to offices and the £500m Riverside development blossoms around it.

Foundations are already being laid for the neighbouring Legal & General building on the old Vaux site, with work also due to begin on the new pedestrian bridge and housing development this year.

Graeme Guthrie, business development manager at Brew & Bake, says it’s exciting to be a part of such a cornerstone of change in the city.

"It’s such an exciting, vibrant development and it’s only going to get better,” he said. “It’s so important to create a space people want to go to and we have a whole new identity here.

Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake with manager Nicola Watkins.

“We learnt a lot of lessons at The Social and they’re lessons we’ve implemented into this cafe. We’ve improved the menu and we’re working a lot more with local suppliers and small batch producers.

"It’s proving popular with the customers who’ve used it so far. Covid has obviously cut down on people using the facility, but it’s given us the chance to bed in. More people will be moving into the building over the coming months and we expect to be in full flow by April.”

The new cafe, which has around 90 seats, has already created new jobs, with more expected as it welcomes more custom.

As well as ordering on site, people can pre-order their food and drink through the Brew & Bake app.

Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.

The menu has a range of options, including a breakfast roll and coffee for £4; paninis and toasties from £3.95; sandwiches from £2.50; salads from £3.50; soup of the day from £3.75 and jacket potatoes from £3.75. There’s also a good range of cakes and smoothies, as well as hot and cold drinks.

The 190,000sq ft City Hall premises is the second building to be completed on the former Vaux site following the opening of The Beam in 2019 and is a real focal point of the Riverside masterplan that is transforming a 33.2 hectare site across both sides of the River Wear, which will eventually be linked with a new pedestrian bridge.

Designed by FaulknerBrowns, the building is managed by Knight Frank and will eventually be the work base for around 2,000 workers from the council and other tenants.

*Brew & Bake is currently open Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm but will open on weekends as more people begin to work within the building. It also has free wifi for those wanting to work in the cafe.

A range of salad options are on the menu

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Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.
Customers can enjoy a range of speciality teas
Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.
Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.
Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.
Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.
Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.
Inside the new City Hall cafe, Brew & Bake.