New bar and restaurant Dandy Longlegs aims to bring ‘something different’ to Sunderland

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A new bar and restaurant at a gateway to the city centre hopes its business has legs.

The owners of Dandy Longlegs have taken over a derelict building on Silksworth Row to transform it into a bar, restaurant and function room.

owner of Dandy Longlegs, Silksworth Row, Jordan Lish

owner of Dandy Longlegs, Silksworth Row, Jordan Lish

The building dates back to pre-1850 and was originally three farm workers’ cottages, meaning the new owners faced a tough task with renovation.

Just over five months after they got the keys, father and sons team Graeme, Gavin and Jordan Lish are welcoming their first customers through the doors and have created 15 new jobs.

Gavin said: “When we first got the keys there was no gas, no electric, there was rubble everywhere.

“We encountered a lot of problems structurally because of the age of the building. Nothing was level, nothing was straight.

owner of Dandy Longlegs, Silksworth Row, Jordan Lish

owner of Dandy Longlegs, Silksworth Row, Jordan Lish

“Getting skirting boards to fit these walls took 20 cuts to do 20 metres. But we picked this building because of its quirks.”

Graeme said: “We looked at premises in Durham but we wanted to bring something different to Sunderland.

“We didn’t want somewhere in the city centre as we wanted somewhere relaxed with parking spaces.

“Our family is originally from Sunderland and for years I’ve always thought it was annoying that this is one of the busiest roundabouts in the city, an entrance to the city centre, yet the first thing you are greeted by is an old boarded up building.”

Owner of Dandy Longlegs, Silksworth Row, Jordan Lish

Owner of Dandy Longlegs, Silksworth Row, Jordan Lish

Downstairs is a bar and bistro that’s open from 9am until late, while upstairs is a function room and live music room which will host blues and soul nights.

“The new owners scoured antique markets and eBay for items to furnish the new venture, which has a shabby chic theme.

“We’ve been to lots of bars over the years and we are big foodies and we wanted to build something where we would want to go. Everything is prepared fresh, we don’t have freezers and microwaves,” said Graeme.

He added: “The name comes from different angles. We were looking to do something along the lines of butterflies and moths, as well as the old-fashioned gentleman like Beau Brummell, so the name is the coming together of those two ideas.”

Gavin said: “The feedback we’ve had so far has been great.

“We have a great relationship with the Isis nearby, but we’re different styles of venue. Whereas they focus on real ales, we’re more of a venue you would come with your partner or with a group of friends for wine and cocktails.

“But we do have premium lagers and bottled ales as well.”