See the new outdoor space at The Saltgrass that's ideal for social distanced drinks

A new outdoor space has opened at the historic Saltgrass pub that’s ideal for social distanced drinks.

Friday, 10th July 2020, 11:00 am

One of the oldest in Wearside, the pub has been a Deptford landmark since 1842 and has witnessed the rise and fall of the shipyards as well as huge changes in the city - but, like all pubs, emerging from lockdown has been its biggest challenge yet.

Walter Veti bought the pub a year ago and had been drawing a new crowd down to the industrial site thanks to a strong real ale offering and quality music acts.

He’d already created a partially-covered heated area with its own fully-licensed bar for gigs before lockdown, but with live music still not allowed to take place it’s become the ideal space for socially distanced drinks.

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New look at The Saltgrass in Deptford

Called The Anchor, the former beer garden area’s capacity has been reduced from 250 to 80 to meet Government guidelines and it features barrel tables spaced one metre or more apart.

Due to the historic features of the pub, which make it what it is, the new capacity for the bar is just 15 and 37 in the lounge, but The Anchor, as well as 12 new tables at the front of the pub, have allowed it to reopen with success post-lockdown.

"We were at the full capacity we could be with social distancing and there was a cracking atmosphere,” he explained. “The Anchor has been our saving grace in all of this and there’s not many places in the city like this with a fully-licensed bar.”

The Saltgrass was once popular with shipyard workers and it features a mural of industrial Wearside scenes.

As well as a bar, the space is used for functions and has a stage which will once more host bands in time.

Other social distancing measures in place include a greeter at the door who takes people’s details for track and trace and allocates them a table for table service.

It follows the success of their mini keg and cocktail jar delivery and collection service which the pub ran through lockdown, with hundreds of litres of beer being sold.

Walter, said: “The Saltgrass used to be the place to be in Sunderland back in the 70s, 80s, 90s, then there was a shift towards city centre bars and dance floors. Now though, I think people want to come to a destination pub for a good drink and to be able to talk and catch up with their mates.”

Walter Veti took over The Saltgrass a year ago

Other new additions at the pub include a new blue exterior and an ongoing refurbishment of the kitchen.

The latter is due to open in the next few weeks when a menu of street food, such as gyros and souvlaki will be available, as well as sharing platters. In the meantime, the pub is taking bookings this weekend for drinks.

It comes as the Echo is running its #SupportLocal campaign to encourage people to use local businesess and help city trade recover from lockdown.

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The Saltgrass new beer garden

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The outdoor area has its own licensed bar

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The Saltgrass
The Saltgrass new window branding. The pub dates back to 1842.
The Saltgrass onwer Walter Veti outside the newly paint pub