South Shields' The Clifton gets a new look as it gears up for bumper summer season

A coffee hot spot is gearing up for a bumper summer season with a series of new additions.

The Clifton in Ocean Road has unveiled a new look in its coffee shop area with a living wall and industrial features, in keeping with the site’s 17 bedrooms.

One of the most popular businesses in South Shields, the hotel and coffee shop has seen a wave of investment in recent years with owners Scott and Liz Carlucci buying the neighbouring property in 2020 to create new rooms for the staycation market.

As well as recent improvements to the coffee shop, the site is currently undergoing roof repairs and the family has invested in a holiday apartment in the town.

The Clifton has unveiled a new look in its coffee shop

"We change the look of the coffee shop quite a lot as we like to stay ahead of the game,” said Liz. “The business is doing really well, it’s very popular and that’s down to the quality and service we offer.

"It’s allowed us to invest further and we’ve created more jobs and have also taken on a holiday apartment.”

Called Carlucci’s Property, the holiday apartment is a two-bedroom ground floor flat in Westoe Crown Village and is an extension of the accommodation already offered at the hotel.

Liz said: "We’ve found with the hotel that when families are visiting family in the town they often prefer their own space, so the apartment is perfect for that. It’s a great location too.

The coffee shop area of The Clifton has a new look

"It’s proved really popular already. We haven’t even had to advertise it and it’s already had lots of bookings.”

Keeping it in the family, daughter Bethany has just been taken on as trainee manager at The Clifton, while son Ralph will be managing the holiday apartment.

The venue also took part in the Government’s Kickstart scheme, to boost youth employment, and retained three of the staff from the scheme, with the others all having found roles in hospitality also.

As well as the coffee shop and hotel, the main site has a library room, which holds 18, and a lounge bar which holds 28, for functions and afternoon teas.

The coffee shop is one of the most popular independent businesses in the town

Once the scaffolding is down for the roof repairs, the outdoor terrace will reopen, with the venue also granted a two-year pavement license for 20 seats.

Liz said: “Sometimes people can take hospitality for granted, but we work so hard. There’s difficulties across the board with supplies and retaining staff at the minute, but we’ve had a fantastic year and it can only get better. As a business, we’re ahead of last year already.”

Last year, The Clifton Hotel and Coffee Shop was named in the list of the top 20 coffee shops in the UK, in a list put together by retailer Coffee Friend.

The business sits with some impressive company on the list, including Bettys Tea Room in Harrogate. The list was put together using data from Trip Advisor, with The Clifton Coffee Shop scored a 4.5/5 rating with 228 ‘Excellent’ ratings of 294 reviews on the site – appearing to rank above Bettys.

New additions include living walls

The Clifton is open daily for breakfasts through to cakes and snacks, lunches and afternoon teas.

The Clifton co-owner Liz Carlucci.
The Clifton is one of Ocean Road's most-popular businesses
The Clifton cafe new interior.
The Clifton cafe new interior.
The Clifton cafe new interior.
The Clifton cafe new interior.
The Clifton cafe new interior.