City centre bar takes the lead with dog-friendly Sundays

Hair of the dog anyone?

Thursday, 16th June 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:39 pm

A city centre bar has put a wag in drinkers’ tails by combining people’s love of gin and dogs on canine-friendly days.

Instead of turning four-legged friends away at the door, pooch patrons at Gin & Bear It in West Sunniside are encouraged in from noon until late on Sundays.

On Gin & Bark It days, popcorn on the bar is replaced with chocolate drops and there’s even a special beef-flavoured dog beer so that man’s best friend needn’t miss out on a Sunday session.

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The new dog days are the brainchild of owners Helen Davies and Sean Maddison, who own English bulldog Bruce.

“There are bars along the seafront that let dogs in, but we haven’t noticed any in the city centre,” said Helen. “As a rule we don’t let dogs in, but I’ve had Bruce in with me before opening hours and people have noticed him and asked if they could bring theirs in.

“Although we’re busy on Friday and Saturday nights, Sundays are quite quiet so we thought it might be a nice idea for people out for a walk with their dog. “There’s a few new places opening around here, so we’re hoping it will all help to generate more footfall.”

Helen, who also runs nearby Bar Justice, said: “It’s not something we’d do at Bar Justice, but Gin & Bear it has concrete floors and leather look seats that are easy to clean so it works perfectly.

“We had the first one last Sunday and the dogs were really well-behaved, it was very civilised. We got in some Woof beer, which is like a beef stock, and it was really popular.”

Gin & Bear It opened as Sunderland’s first dedicated city centre gin bar last year and has proved popular with its choice of more than 40 gins. Soon after opening, it was awarded the Best Bar award in the Wow 24/7 awards, which celebrates the cream of Wearside and South Tyneside’s entertainment and leisure scene.

Sean and Helen are also behind the Sunniside Live music festival which returns to the area on July 16, headlined by Brand New Heavies.

Helen said: “There is finally more happening around here. We’ve had really good trade since opening Gin & Bear It and the other businesses, such as Sam’s Bar, are noticing it too.”