Former brewery boss Jess McConnell brings back the Albion as he takes over his old pub the Jarrow Gin and Ale Bar

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A former brewery boss is hoping to find happiness back behind the bar of his old boozer.

Famous face on the South Tyneside pub scene, former brewer and entertainer, Jess McConnell has returned to his old watering hole on Walter Street, Jarrow.

Then known as McConnell’s Gin and Ale House, the Jarrow Brewery boss first took on the historic pub in 2014.

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Jess McConnell is back at the former McConnells Gin and Ale House and has restored its original name, the Albion Inn.Jess McConnell is back at the former McConnells Gin and Ale House and has restored its original name, the Albion Inn.
Jess McConnell is back at the former McConnells Gin and Ale House and has restored its original name, the Albion Inn. | Johnston Press

After returning to the entertainment industry full-time, Jess - who used to perform as part of The Jarrow Lads - briefly took over the lease of the Crown and Anchor on Chapel Road in October last year, but couldn’t resist when a longer term opportunity came up at the Gin and Ale Bar.

In what he says will be his final foray into the local pub scene, Jess is taking the bar back to its Victorian-era roots and has restored its original name from 1865, the Albion Inn.

“After the brewery closed I went back to entertaining in various pubs and clubs across the North East, but when the winter kicked in this year I thought how much longer can I do this?

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“I didn’t envisage going back into the trade at all, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it since I came back,” said Jess.

Jess McConnell is back behind the bar at the former McConnells Gin and Ale House in Jarrow.Jess McConnell is back behind the bar at the former McConnells Gin and Ale House in Jarrow.
Jess McConnell is back behind the bar at the former McConnells Gin and Ale House in Jarrow. | Johnston Press

“I enjoyed my short time at the Crown and Anchor and I’m absolutely delighted to take over the newly-named Albion Inn on a longer term basis.”

He added: “Since taking over the premises we have painstakingly restored the pub to the peak of its Victorian splendour and I think it’s fitting to restore its original name too.”

Listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, punters will find no pool table, jukeboxes or TVs, instead two roaring log fires and a line-up of entertainment, including acoustic nights, pub quizzes and weekend performances from Jess himself.

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From Monday, February 3 he will be bringing back his famous weekly One O’Clock show, with an old school singalong each Monday at 1pm.

“I’m hoping to find happiness here,” Jess added.

“This will undoubtedly be my final pub.”