Tin of Sardines: See stunning views from Roker's new gin bar as work progresses on Sunderland seafront toilet block

Roker’s new gin bar is set to have one of the best views in the city as work progresses on transforming a disused Victorian site.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 11:32 am

The unit in Pier View has had many guises over the years, including as a tram shed and a toilet block, but has stood empty since the new public toilets were created opposite Roker beach.

Now, it’s undergoing a huge transformation to become a Tin of Sardines bar, a sister site to the successful Tin of Sardines in Durham City, which has built up a firm following since opening as, what’s believed to be, the world’s smallest gin bar.

Work is progressing at the historic site after major structural work with a view to opening the new seafront bar in November.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The old toilet block in Pier View is being converted into a gin bar

As well as making the most of existing features, such as original beams which had been hidden beneath a lowered ceiling, the building work has created a terrace at the back of the site which offers panoramic views of Roker beach and pier.

The new terrace almost doubles the size of the space, which will also have indoor seating, and is set to be an ideal place to enjoy a range of drinks and light bites created in the new kitchen.

It’s being brought to the city by the Davis family, who also own a Tin of Sardines in Poole, Dorset, as well as the new £1million bar and restaurant The Curious Mr Fox in Durham City.

Trevor Davis, who lives in Burdon, said he was delighted to be opening his first Sunderland seafront venture.

Directors Ben Davis and his father Trevor standing on the terrace at the conversion of the old toilet block into a gin bar at Pier View, Roker. Picture by FRANK REID

"The view is absolutely fantastic and really reminds me of my home town of Poole,” said the businessman.

Tin of Sardines Roker, which has created 12 new jobs for the city, will offer more than 200 varieties of gin, a broad wine list, lagers, spirits and more as well as brunches, light bites and seafood.

"People can expect really great quality food and drink seven days a week and it’s going to be a fantastic place to sit and watch the sunset with a glass of gin in hand,” explained Lord Davis.

Son and business partner Ben Davis said: “It’s been fantastic watching this project come together and we can’t wait for people to see it finished. We’re going to have heaters and parasols outside to protect against the weather and we think it’s going to be a great addition to the seafront. It’s fantastic to see so many businesses opening and creating a real route for people.”

The terrace has been created on unused grassland at the rear of the site

Tin of Sardines is one in a number of new additions to the seafront which in recent months has welcomed Stack Seaburn, Seaburn Inn and Rosa Gelato.

In the coming weeks, Roker and Seaburn will also welcome the opening of a bar and restaurant in phase II of Pier Point and a new seafood restaurant at the former storage shelter in Seaburn promenade. There’s also plans ongoing to convert the former Victorian tram shelter in Seaburn.

It’s all part of the wider Seafront Regeneration Scheme to boost the area for Wearsiders, whilst also attracting people from around the area.

As well as investment from the Davis family, Sunderland City Council has invested £250,000 into the site, assisted by grant funding courtesy of The Coastal Communities Fund.

The site has been empty since new public toilets were created opposite Roker beach

The income from the lease will support the Sunderland Seafront Trust, which operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours and the new income will help it to organise a range of seafront events and activities.

Coun Kevin Johnston, portfolio holder for Dynamic City, said it was fantastic to see old buildings being given a new lease of life.

"Tin of Sardines already has a big following in Durham and it’s great to see the site all coming together here,” he said. “As well as the other businesses along the seafront, there really is a fantastic offering for people.”

Read More

Read More
Review of Proven People as it proves its worth on city's flourishing dining scen...

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

The Sunderland Echo has been on Wearside since 1873, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come.

The new bar is taking shape
Directors Ben Davis and his father Trevor standing on the terrace at the conversion of the old toilet block into a gin bar at Pier View, Roker. Picture by FRANK REID
The bar and kitchen area