So long Smugglers, good evening Grannie Annie’s.
A landmark seafront pub will open its doors tonight with a whole new look and name.
The former Smugglers, which closed its doors in December, has been taken over by South Tyneside businessman Stephen Ski, whose portfolio of pubs also includes The Sanddancer in South Shields and Beggar’s Bridge in East Boldon.
The pub in Marine Walk, as well as the two flats upstairs, were completely gutted of their old interiors to create Grannie Annie’s which features a mishmash of reclaimed materials and retro trinkets.
It’s been named after Stephen’s mum Anne Karczewski, from Hebburn, who is known affectionately as Grannie Annie.
Though the name and interiors are completely different, new manager Adam Straughan says the bar will keep the live music and dog-friendly ethos for which The Smugglers was well known.
“It is very well known as The Smugglers but reopening it with the same name wasn’t an option really, because it’s completely different to what it used to be like,” he said.
Adam added: “We know people will probably still call it that for a while. People still call Beggar’s Bridge Sleepers and it’s not been that for over a year.”
Speaking about the pub’s appeal, he said: “When we first got the keys it looked very different and was very dark and dingy, but it’s a pub with so much potential. There’s lots of regeneration going on around the area and, even on a rainy day, the views are amazing and there’s still loads of dog walkers about who want to pop in with their dogs for a drink.
“There’s been a lot of interest already and people have been peering in at the windows to see what we’re doing with the place.”
The new pub will stage live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While the upstairs bar will have more of a cocktail-led menu, downstairs will feature six hand pulls and premium lagers, such as Brooklyn and Birra Moretti, as well as local ales such as Double Maxim and Swedish Blonde which are brewed in Rainton Bridge.
Plans are in place to start serving food from next week and the owners hope that the bar will get planning permission for a beer garden-style balcony at the rear.