A FORMER college lecturer has taken a new career path after taking over the reins of a thoroughbred South Tyneside pub.
The famous Dolly Peel watering hole in Commercial Road, South Shields, has a new face at the helm.
Lauren Prout was previously an equine lecturer at East Durham College.
Now she has taken up a stable position in charge of ‘The Dolly’ – a pioneering real ale pub.
Lauren is up for the challenge alongside her manageress Kate Downey, who was previously a barmaid at the venue.
She took charge at the beginning of the month after the departure of the previous landlord Tim Marriott.
But she has already made an impression and is determined to maintain the venue’s reputation for fine ales.
It originally gained fame in the 1980s under the stewardship of the late Ken Taylor, the larger-than-life pub boss widely recognised for putting real ale on the map in the borough.
The now Punch Tavern-owned pub was three times a winner of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (Camra) prestigious Pub of the Year award during his 12 years in charge.
Lauren, 27, was persuaded to make the career change by her partner Peter Frail, who runs the Sand Dancer pub in Sea Road, South Shields.
The Dolly is now part of the growing ‘Sand Dancer’ brand empire and will be joined by the town’s Club Sandy, off Mile End Road, when that venue opens tomorrow night.
She said: “It’s a a bit of a change from being a horse lecturer, but it is a new challenge and although I don’t teach any more I still love to ride.
“As soon as we got the ‘under new management’ sign up we started getting busier and we’ve really picked up.
“Real ale is still at the heart of what we offer. I am aware of the tradition and I still think we have the best beer in town.
“We also have a buskers’ night on a Wednesday and live music on Saturday and we’re planning to become a pie and mash real ale house.”
Mr Frail added: “When we heard the Dolly was going to close we were asked if we could do something with it.
“Now we have a bar on the beach, the nightclub and a real ale pub – it covers all elements of the trade.”