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.
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.
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.
Pubs were able to welcome back punters for the first time last weekend and Walter says it went well.
"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.”
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.
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.”
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.