Sunderland bar Chase gets £750,000 refit

John and Karen Dickman outside Chase bar on Park Lane, Sunderland.
John and Karen Dickman outside Chase bar on Park Lane, Sunderland.
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BAR bosses are hoping a £750,000 refit will leave their new city centre venue looking ship-shape.

Chase in Park Lane, Sunderland, will undergo the three-month facelift after its new owners decided to put their own mark on the venue.

John and Karen Dickman, who have owned Gatsby opposite for the last five years, took over the bar late last year.

Now they are preparing to invest in their new venture, with a shipbuilding theme at the forefront of their plans.

Another storey will be added to the building as part of a design inspired by a cruise ship.

It is hoped the redevelopment will help spark a renewed interest in the city’s bars and boost the area’s night-time economy.

“The name is being kept a secret, but it is going to be linked with our heritage and all the different shipyards,” said John, whose late father Alfie was a worker in one of Wearside’s yards.

“People are very pleased that somebody from Sunderland is putting money back in,” he said.

“We’ve already got Gatsby, and I just thought we could make Park Lane a nice area of the city.

“We’ve still got people going to Newcastle and Durham.

“If there was somewhere there were two or three nice bars, like in Park Lane, then they wouldn’t need to go outside and they will be able to go from one to the other. It’s a big investment, but we’re confident.”

The bar will employ 50 members of staff, with the workers who were employed by Chase’s previous owners transferred across as part of the sale, and will serve food as well as drinks.

The expansion will include a VIP area and function room, with an outdoor terrace also part of the planning proposals submitted to Sunderland City Council, with a decision yet to be taken by planners. A new licensing application will also be made by the business as it works to amend its hours.