See inside the new South Shields bar and Thai restaurant aiming for success amidst lockdown restrictions
A former gin bar is being transformed into a new bar and Thai restaurant for South Shields.
The owners of the new Barr Porter in Dean Road, formerly Mason’s Gin Bar, are optimistic about opening a new venture in difficult times and have taken steps to ensure their new venture is Covid secure.
With a bar downstairs and a Thai restaurant upstairs, which is employing five Thai chefs from the former Thai Udon Kitchen in Laygate, Barr Porter is being brought to the town by business partners Alex Barr, Lee Porter and Urai Reed.
"People think we’re mad opening in the current climate, but when these opportunities come along in life you just have to jump at them,” explained Alex. "Obviously Covid has had a massive impact, but we decided to go for it and take what happens.
"Because there’s three of us, each has brought something different to the project, with a different skill set.”
The team have spent the past month renovating the site and installing new kitchen equipment. Downstairs was already in a good condition, so they just added some of their own touches and fired up the open fires, while upstairs, which was formerly a function room, has been made into a 30-capacity (with Covid restrictions) restaurant with bamboo and Thai decor and trinkets.
Barr Porter is aiming to open at the end of next week, and they're pleased with the support they’ve received so far.
Alex said: “We’ve had a lot of support from other businesses, especially Tony Singh from Hedworth Hall, as well as from the Thai and Asian communities, it’s been a really international effort.”