Sunderland’s smallest pub has opened its doors, and it’s proving a big draw.
The Church Door in Sunniside holds a maximum of just 38 people and can only have two beers on draught because it has no room for a cellar, but its quirky charm is already making it popular with punters.
The bar, which specialises in wines, spirits, cocktails and bottled beers, is the brainchild of business partners Grant Burlinson and Adam CarrU
Using their background in joinery, they spent 10 months renovating the derelict Victorian building and removing one of the floors to create the one-room bar.
It’s the latest new addition in that corner of the city, which has also seen the opening of 808 bar in John Street and The Manor Bar in the former Thai Manor site.
Dating back to around 1870, The Church Door building was once a Customs and Excise house adjacent to the Backhouse & Co bank, which was bombed during the war.
The bar’s name is a reference to the look of the building and the fact that Grant owns business Advance Door Centre, rather than it ever being used as a place of worship.
Speaking about why they chose to open the bar, Adam said: “Grant already owned the building, which is attached to Gin & Bear It which he rents out.
“This building has been derelict for about 10/12 years and was in a right state with holes in the ceiling and pigeons nesting in it, so we set about turning it into a bar.
“It was a huge job and we did most of it ourselves on an evening after our day jobs.
“There’s the smallest gin bar in the world in Durham and micro breweries are certainly popular at the moment.
“We think we’re the smallest bar in Sunderland, but people seem to like that. It sets us apart.”
“We’ve been lucky with Manor Bar and 808 opening around the same time so there’s even more bars for people to come to at this side of town.
“All the bars around Sunniside are really supportive of each other and we’re looking at doing a monthly bar crawl to attract people to the area.”
The bar is currently open from Thursdays to Saturdays and Sundays on match days, but they’re looking to open every day if there’s enough business.