A pair of Geordie Shore stars who took over a Sunderland bar have sold the venue after being linked with the show proved bad for business.
Just seven weeks after launching Attico and Verve in Green Terrace, Jay Gardner and Ricci Guarnaccio, formerly of the hit MTV show, have sold up to concentrate on other ventures.
Though the pair had ploughed efforts into promoting the business, with high-profile national media coverage, it didn’t equate to getting people through the door.
New owner Kelly Hudson says Jay and Ricci did nothing wrong, but she is keen to point out the business is now strictly Sunderland.
“The problem is nothing to do with them personally, they have parted from the bar on good terms,” she said. “They were great and very keen to promote the business. But they are so linked with the show and Newcastle, and that link just didn’t work in Sunderland.
“Although there is people from Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Durham in the show, it will always be linked to Newcastle and the bar was being seen as a ‘geordie’ bar.”
Jay tweeted about the pair’s departure: “Myself and @RicciGuarnaccio have decided to sell @AtticoVerve, we wish the new owners the best of luck.” The bar re-opened at the end of March after around £200,000 was spent on transforming it from its former guise as Ruba. Upstairs is Attico, which specialises in cocktails, R’n’B, house music and free shisha and food. Meanwhile, downstairs is Verve which has a music policy of chart and commercial.
Speaking to the Echo ahead of the bar’s opening on March 28, Jay said: “We’re going to give Sunderland something it’s never seen before. We’ve been all over the world partying, to Australia and all over Europe and the UK, and we know what to do to make it a success.”
The new owner says she thinks the bar itself has the potential for success.
Kelly said: “The bar looks great, and everyone who comes in says they are impressed with the decor. It’s just a case of getting people through the door. We want people to realise they don’t have to go elsewhere, outside of Sunderland, for a good night out.
“We want to get away from the idea people have of it. It’s very much a Sunderland bar, I’m from Sunderland, as are the 30 staff who work here.”