Here’s the first look around Sunderland city centre’s first gin bar.
Gin & Bear It doesn’t open its doors until tomorrow night, but has already racked up 40,000 hits on its own website in a week, while previous stories on its opening have been amongst the most well-read with online Echo readers.
Owner Sean Maddison, who runs the Sunniside bar with Helen Davies, says its popularity lies with the trendy tipple.
“The response so far has been phenomenal,” he said. “It’s down to gin, that’s the bottom of it. I knew it was popular, but didn’t realise just how much until now.
“While we’ve been doing the renovations passers-by have all been stopping to ask about the bar, even the traffic wardens say they are going to come in for a drink.”
The bar, in the former 200 High Street site, will be serving more than 40 varieties of the spirit, from well-known to independent brands, such as Durham Gin, Death’s Door, Monkey 47 and Eden Mill gin.
Sean, who also owns nearby Bar Justice, said it’s part of a welcome surge of activity in the area which in recent months has seen restaurants Thai Bay and Papadoms open.
He said: “It’s great to have another bar open in the area. All of the businesses, us, Angelo’s and Sam’s Bar, have all been saying that after eight years, Sunniside is finally starting to become an area. Sunderland BID have been particularly supportive and have done a lot in the past couple of years.
“People have been crying out for Newcastle-standard venues and we are giving it to them.”
Other drinks served at the bar include craft beers Peculier IPA and Coast to Coast on draught and Camden Pale Ale and Hiver Honey Ale bottles.
“We have really worked hard to source unusual varieties of drinks that you just can’t get elsewhere in the city, even the mixers are varieties such as elderflower and herbal tonics,” explained Sean.
Prices for gin and tonics will range from £5-£7.20. The bar will be open at weekends, from 4pm on Fridays and Sundays and noon on Saturdays.