Regulars are toasting a new look at one of the city’s oldest boozers.
The Saltgrass in Deptford has been closed for 12 weeks while £60,000 worth of renovations were carried out to the historic watering hole.
While the pub has been brought up to date, owner Theresa Ingram says she felt strongly about retaining the venue’s rich heritage.
She said: “The pub is so well-known in Sunderland and it has such a rich history. When the shipyards were open, it was said that the bartender knew everyone so well he’d have all their orders of ales lined up on the bar for them, ready for their break.
“And you often hear of people saying their grandma or grandad used to drink here. I love this pub and I felt really passionately about keeping that sense of history. So we’ve brought back a lot of old items and photos of people who used to drink here which were in the loft or storage and put them back, while also bringing the pub up to date.”
The pub dates back to 1842 and is believed to have got its name from a nearby mill which used esparto grass to make paper.
Theresa has owned the pub for the past seven years with husband Peter, and has now decided to take over the management side too.
She said: “Although we’ve owned it for seven years it’s been managed by other people, but I’ve taken over all aspects of the pub now. The pub was starting to look a bit tired, which is why we decided to close for refurbishment.
“But we’ve kept the character, such as replacing the open fire, which people love, as it was falling apart.”
As well as renovations to the main bar and beer garden, the dining room is now a 60-seater restaurant and a new chef has been appointed to specialise in gastro pub food, which will be served daily from noon. Sunday lunches will also be available.
Future plans also include an outdoor pizza oven, a marquee and a fortnightly bands night.
Theresa said: “We reopened at the weekend and there’s been a great response. People say that they love that we’ve kept the history of the place.”