ONE of Sunderland city centre’s most popular pubs is undergoing an extensive facelift.
Fitzgeralds, in Green Terrace, served the last pint in its present form on Sunday.
After two weeks of intensive work, the pub will reopen to the city’s drinkers on Friday, January 28.
The pub opened in 1992, replacing a smaller pub, Greensleeves.
Fitzgeralds has based its success on being a traditional boozer, with real ales, wooden fittings and a place where conversation is not impeded by music. It has been a regular winner of CAMRA real ale awards and is in the 2011 Good Pub Guide.
However, the interior of the pub has remained largely unchanged over the past 19 years so its owners – Sir John Fitzgerald Ltd -– thought it was time for a makeover.
The pub’s manager, Matt Alldis, said he was looking forward to the new look and the grand reopening.
He said: “I think it’s the best traditional ale house in Sunderland, but it needs a breath of fresh air and that’s what it’s getting. The pub exterior will stay the same because it was only done up a few months ago.
“The wood will stay the same and the bars will remain too. But, there will be new toilets, light fittings, pictures, televisions, flooring, carpets and tiles. The whole place will be redecorated with new wallpaper.
“The ceilings will be painted a brighter colour. They were painted in their present brown colour on purpose, because there was smoking at the time, but since the smoking ban we can use any colour we like.
“We’ve taken millions of pounds over the years, so that’s a lot of customers and a lot of wear and tear.
“We’ll be back, better than ever and with the best beers, atmosphere and pub quizzes in town.”
The pub’s final day of trading – the day of the derby game –was a very successful one.
Mr Alldis added: “It was chock-a-block, but there wasn’t a sniff of bother.”