Inside The Pickled Radish after Sunderland's former Pallion Working Men's Club transformed into impressive new bar
A landmark former working men’s club has reopened as a new bar aimed at putting the site back in the heart of the community.
The distinctive red brick Pallion Workingmen’s Club has stood proud on the corner of Waverley Terrace for decades and was once a hive of activity thanks to the nearby shipyards.
Now, its new tenants are hoping to make it a local favourite once more after renovating the site and opening it as The Pickled Radish.
Business partners Michael Jameson and Julie Gibson have already had success with transforming an empty unit in John Street into Spent Grain restaurant, which has proved a popular addition to the city centre.
While Pickled Radish, which has created eight new jobs, has a similar rustic meets modern decor theme and relaxed ambience of Spent Grain, it very much has its own identity.
"What we’ve done in town is aimed at professionals and city living, Pickled Radish is aimed more at families and is very much community led,” explained Michael. “It won’t have the cheap drinks and turns of a workingmen club’s, but we want to put it back at the heart of the community.
"I’ve lived in this area for 27 years and I remember guys pouring out of here at 11pm and queues around the block. It was a very popular spot. But it was closed for so long that when people see the doors open now they just think it’s workmen coming in and out. We’re hoping people start to realise it’s back open again. It’s about changing perceptions. We’ll be increasing the signage to make it more visible.”
The businessman, who also operates nearby Urban Terrace Kitchen with wife Zoë, has had plans for the site, which briefly traded as SR4 gin bar in 2018, since before the pandemic.
"I’ve driven past it for years and always thought it had potential,” he said. “I actually saw this before Spent Grain, but it was all delayed because of Lockdown.”
As well as being available for functions, The Pickled Radish is open seven days a week from 11am to 11pm, for drinks such as a selection of real ales, IPAs, craft lagers, wines and spirits with prices starting at £3.70 for a pint, from £4 for IPA and around £4.50 for a glass of wine.
Draught ales will also be available once the pumps are installed.
In the coming weeks people can also look forward to a food menu of good quality pub classics, Sunday roasts and bar snacks. There’s also plans for a beer garden in the outdoor area.
Spent Grain, which opened in May, is already earning rave reviews for its food and is one of the sites taking part in the current Sunderland Restaurant Week.
Michael said: “We’ve really noticed an increase in diners over the past couple of weeks and we’re fully booked every evening this week. Confidence is returning and more and more people are coming into the city centre.
"There’s some great new businesses and there’s a little route developing at places such as ours, The Church Door and Cafe 1851.”