Sunderland bar reopens with purple splash

The Conservatory's manager Fiona Tench
The Conservatory's manager Fiona Tench
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ONE of the city centre’s most distinctive pubs has been given a new lease of life.

The bar, off the roundabout at the junction of Tunstall Road and Durham Road, has been renovated and re-opened with a name inspired by its well-known feature, The Conservatory.

The Conservatory's manager Fiona Tench

The Conservatory's manager Fiona Tench

Over the years it’s been Kilmartin’s, Bar 1 and Substance, and has had a mixed bag of fortunes under its various guises, including a period where it stood derelict, but the new management say they think it has the potential to be a thriving bar once more.

Manager Fiona Tench said: “It’s such a great spot, especially in the summer. It just needs some TLC.”

Over the past four weeks, the bar has been completely stripped of its former decor as an Irish bar, and the green paintwork replaced by a purple and cream scheme.

Fiona says the new external colours have been attracting attention.

“Everyone drives past this bar and knows where it is, so people have certainly noticed the change in colour,” she said.

“Some people say they aren’t a fan of the purple, and others say they love it. It’s proved quite a talking point.

“But it’s not something we can’t change.

“We thought about a few names for the new bar, such as Brooklyn and Social Rooms. But when anyone talks about the bar, they say ‘oh, the one with the conservatories,’ so we went with that. It made sense.”

The bar opened in time for Easter weekend and Fiona says it was a promising start.

“If derby day is anything to go by I think it will go really well,” she said. “We were packed, six deep at the bar, and we’ve been doing well in general.

“I think people forget how many people walk past here on their way into town, and we’ve had lots of people coming in.” DJs at the bar will be playing Northern soul, funky house and club classics, with a buskers’ afternoon on Sundays.

Drinks served are premium lagers on draught and the usual beers and cocktails.