A Sunderland workingmen’s club will be given a new lease of life when it opens as a gin bar this weekend.
The former Pallion Workingmen’s Club in Waverley Terrace has been closed for almost a year, but will open its doors tomorrow as a bar called Gin Empire and SR4 function suite.
Once one of the city’s most popular social clubs, the lower level will now feature a bar, serving more than 50 different spirits, while upstairs, which opens next month, will be a function room.
The building was saved from dereliction by property developer, Debbie Dorans, who has invested more than £100,000 in the club.
Along with the bar and function suite – which is being run by North East businessman Paul Weild – a range of office space is also being created.
The bar area will offer a range of food options, with plans for a DJ at weekends and a number of special musical events also being planned.
“There’s been a huge amount of interest in the building and I think once we open the doors people will be amazed at the transformation,” said Paul.
“When it was at its height the club hosted performers like Engelbert Humperdink and was one of the richest workingmen’s club in the region.
“We’re delighted to have been able to save it and believe it will be a real asset to the area.”
Once complete, the function room will be used for weddings, celebrations and business events, with plans to also transform another room on the first floor which can be used for meetings and small conferences.
“We can’t wait to welcome people through the doors this weekend to see what we’ve created right on their doorstep,” said Paul.
Last September the Echo reported that 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.
However, after a 91-signature petition from residents and Northumbria Police which originally opposed the plans over anti-social behaviour fears, the new owners agreed to reduce late hours and say they are keen to work alongside Pallion residents.
This included reducing last alcohol sales from 1am to midnight on Friday and Saturday and from midnight to 11.30pm between Sunday and Thursday.
The newly-granted licence for all entertainment runs between 8am – 11.30pm, Sunday to Thursday, and 8am to midnight, Friday and Saturday. An extra hour will be added across the board for bank holidays.