'This really is Sunderland's best attraction' - seafront venues welcome customers back for a pint in the sun
Pub-goers raised a glass to pints in the sunshine as seafront venues reopened their outdoor spaces.
From families with dogs to friends meeting for a catch up, there was plenty of people enjoying the chance to finally sit outdoors as pubs, cafes and restaurants welcomed back customers.
Friends Mollie Lucas, Sophie Scott and Grace Ball, all 18 and from South Shields, were among the first to visit Stack Seaburn as the £3million seafront venue was able to open for sit-in dining for the first time since November 5.
Mollie said: “We went on the Stack site as soon as bookings went live and this was the only table we could get. It’s just great to be out with friends.”
Sophie said: “It’s been a tough year and it’s so important for people’s mental health to be able to socialise again.”
Claire Redpath, from Biddick Woods, was out for a dog walk with daughter Erin, 12, and Benny the beagle when they decided to call in at Stack.
She said: “It’s great to be sat here in the sun. You keep thinking ‘wow, we’re not at home anymore.’ It’s great to have a dog friendly venue like this here.”
Gemma Dishman, marketing and special projects manager at Danieli Holdings who own Stack, said: “It’s great to see people socialising and for them to be able to come in with their dogs, or meet friends, in a safe environment.”
At The Promenade, customers have been keen to get back to its two beer gardens, at the front and rear of the seafront pub.
Rob O’Donoghue, manager at The Promenade said: “We have two outdoor areas for both bookings and walk ups and people have been really happy to be back. The most popular days for bookings are today and Saturday. I just can’t wait until restrictions are lifted totally.”
At Poetic License in the Roker, they’ve created a huge beer garden overlooking the coast to cater for Let There Be Crumbs customers, as well as drinkers.
Operations director Jonny Graham said: “We’re doing 50% bookings and 50% walk ups. It’s been a really good atmosphere so far. Hopefully this is just the first stage of reopening and in June we can get back to normal.
“We’re back open now and we just hope we get the support we need. Your big corporations, your Asdas, your Amazons, have benefited hugely from the lockdown. The little guys have had some support, but we need to be back trading again. Hopefully this will be start of a good summer on the seafront. There’s lots of new places opening up and it really is Sunderland’s best attraction.”
It isn’t just the pubs who’ve welcomed people back: coffee shops were also able to reopen their outdoor seating and there was some happy faces enjoying a brew with a view at Funky Beach in Seaburn.
Funky Beach owner Donna O’Brien said: “We’ve been lucky in that we’ve been able to open for take out, but it is nice to be serving people again.
"It is a bit of a juggling act with the track and trace and seating people with waitress service, but we’re looking forward to a good summer here. There’s a lot of new businesses opening along the seafront and it’s great that we all offer something different for people.”