Former Sunderland working men’s club to reopen as gin bar and entertainments suite

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A former Sunderland social club is set for an upmarket makeover after winning a licence to open a new gin bar and events space.

The old Pallion Workingmen’s Club, which closed in February, has new owners and plans to reopen by Christmas this year.

Applicant Paul Weild’s vision for the centre includes a new name,  ‘SR4 Suite’, and ‘The Gin Empire’ bar which will serve 40 variations of the tipple.

The focus, he added, is on creating an “affordable local venue for local people” while using the space to host christenings, parties, weddings and meetings.

Related: Plans unveiled for £1.5million bar and restaurant complex in Sunderland

This week, Sunderland City Council’s (SCC) Licensing Sub-Committee approved licences for the sale of alcohol, dance, recorded music, performances, wrestling, films and plays at the venue.

While a 91-signature petition from residents and Northumbria Police originally opposed the plans over anti-social behaviour fears, the new owners agreed to reduce late hours.

This included reducing last alcohol sales from 1am to midnight on Friday and Saturday and from midnight to 11.30pm between Sunday and Thursday.

An original bid to host boxing at the venue has also been scrapped alongside conditions limiting the time of deliveries and requirements for regular clean-ups around the venue.

The changes were the result of a public meeting with Pallion residents in August and a separate meeting with Northumbria Police, where conditions were agreed with the applicant.

An application form adds the ground floor will be the main hub for events – serving food and drink when not hired out – while the first floor will be for functions and events only.

The newly-granted licence for all entertainment runs between 8am – 11.30pm, Sunday to Thursday, and 8am to midnight, Friday and Saturday.

New Year’s Eve hours also  include 11am to 2am for alcohol and entertainment, while an extra hour will be added across the board for bank holidays.

Mr Weild, speaking after winning the licence at Sunderland Civic Centre, said: “The venue is going to have the upmarket feel but will be very relaxed for local people.

“It’s pretty much full steam ahead with the refurbishment now and hopefully before we open I’m going to be inviting all the residents to come to a couple of events.”

This includes free entry to select live entertainment events to have a “sneak peek” of the venue alongside invites to the official launch.

Pallion ward councillor George Smith, speaking at the meeting, said: “We had a public meeting and there were about 60 people who turned up.

“The owner put his point of view across and the residents put their point of view across. The owner agreed and everyone said they were happy”.

In line with licence conditions, 24-hour CCTV has  been installed at the venue, with registered door staff used for the majority of events.

Although one objection was recieved over fears of crime and disorder on the revised application, the council’s licensing committee backed the application.

New hours include.

Sale of Alcohol

Sunday to Thursday, 11am to 11.30pm

Friday and Saturday, 11am to midnight

Live music, recorded music, dance, wrestling, indoor sporting events, films, plays

Sunday to Thursday, 8am – 11.30pm

Friday and Saturday, 8am – midnight

Caption: Applicant Paul Weild

Caption: Sunderland Civic Centre

Caption: Pallion Workingman’s Club, which closed in February 2018

Caption:  Artist impressions of new ‘SR4 Suite’

Caption:  Logo for ‘The Gin Empire’

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service