Take a look inside the landmark Sunderland pub aiming to become a family favourite

Re-opening of Roker's The Fort.
Bar manager Rachel McDonald
Re-opening of Roker's The Fort. Bar manager Rachel McDonald
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A once trouble-hit pub is entering a new chapter after being boarded up for more than a year.

New life is being breathed into The Fort in Roker with new owners, staff and a total makeover.

After months of renovation work at the well-known pub, which dates back to 1900, it will reopen to the public tonight from 7pm.

The new management say although the site has had a troubled past, they are confident they can attract people back through the doors with its new offering.

Sisters Kelsey Taylor and Rachel McDonald have taken over the management of the pub, which is now owned by Adrianna Culta.

Kelsey said: “It had become run down over the years and had a bad reputation but, after it being closed for more than a year, we’re determined to provide something new for the community.

“We very much want this to be a family-orientated pub and everything has been designed around that. It can often be a struggle to find a pub where you can take children. We all have kids ourselves and we want it to be the kind of place we would bring our kids, somewhere clean and safe. We feel very passionate about it.

“It’s a historic pub that once would have served people who worked in the nearby shipyards and it’s such a shame to see it closed. We want to give it a whole new identity and we’re going to give it our best shot.”

Changes at the pub include a premium coffee offering, a children’s play area, as well as the installation of an open plan kitchen which will prepare pub classics and children’s dishes, as well as match day specials and a Sunday carvery.

Kelsey said: “Food is a brand new offering here and we have had to build a kitchen. It will be all hand-made local produce at reasonable prices. It can be really expensive to eat out as a family but we plan to cater for people who are on a budget.”

Other changes at the pub, which has created 12 new jobs, include live entertainment, a buskers’ night, quiz nights and darts and dominoes nights.