Gin & Bear It: Specialist bar opens in former Sunderland pub

Gin & Bear It
Gin & Bear It
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Gin drinkers can look forward to a new bar which will be dedicated to the trendy tipple.

Gin & Bear It will be serving up more than 40 varieties of the spirit when it opens its doors in Sunniside later this month.

Renovation work is ongoing at the former 200 High Street pub, which closed four years ago, in order to transform it into the city centre’s first gin bar.

As well as gin, it will be serving craft ales in a bid to capitalise on the current popularity of the drinks.

The new bar is the brainchild of the people behind Bar Justice, in nearby West Sunniside, who have taken over the lease.

Helen Davies, manager at Bar Justice, said: “We’ve had our eyes on it for a while, it’s a great bar which runs over two floors. In many ways it’s similar to the building we have here at Bar Justice.

“It’s been empty for four years and when we got the keys it was like Miss Havisham’s house, everything had just been left. It’s actually in good enough condition to open as it is, but we want to give it its own personality and will be going for an industrial look with a large scaffolding back bar and beer keg tables.

“The upstairs bar is all white at the minute and it’s quite striking, so we’ll be keeping the minimal look with that bar.”

Helen says she’s noticed a surge in demand for gin in the past few years.

“Even in the last year we’ve gone from having two main ones at Bar Justice, to eight,” she said. “Gin & Bear It will have more than 40 to start, but we’re looking to expand upon that. We’ll be stocking local brands, like Durham Gin, as well as the major ones. It will be the full gin experience with botanicals and a variety of different tonics. We want to keep it as having a different identity to Bar Justice.”

Helen, who is also one of the organisers of the Sunniside Live festival, says she hopes it will help to boost footfall in the area.

“Thai Bay and Papadoms have opened recently and it’s definitely kick-starting the area,” she said. “We know there’s been interest in the closed Thai Manor site too, which would really help to bring more people to this corner of the city.”

Gin & Bear it will open for business on November 27.