Closed Hebburn pub set for new lease of life with £475,000 revamp after saddened customer takes it over herself

A closed pub which has sat empty for more than a year is set to reopen following a £475,000 revamp – after a saddened former customer decided to take it on herself.

By Ross Robertson
Monday, 05 August, 2019, 16:45
Alex and Gary Davison are the new licencees at The Mill Tavern

The Mill Tavern in Hebburn closed in October 2018, one of a number of South Tyneside pubs to shut their doors in recent years.

But now it is due to reopen new licensees Alex and Gary Davison after a major £475,000 refurbishment by Star Pubs & Bars – the leased pub business of Heinken UK.

Alex had been saddened by the pub’s closure and rather than bemoan its loss, she decided to do something about it – so has taken it on with the view to creating the best family friendly community pub in the area.

Alex and Gary Davison are the new licencees at The Mill Tavern

She said: "Having been brought up in the area, I have many family friends living locally so could see the unrealised potential of The Mill Tavern.

“We weren’t looking to take on a pub, but when I heard The Mill Tavern was up for lease, I knew it was a challenge I'd love to take up.

“I am not interested in running any other pub. I just want to breathe new life into The Mill Tavern, put it back at the heart of the community where it belongs and make it the best it can be."

Gary Corney, regional operations director for Star Pubs & Bars, said he is confident Alex’s passion for the pub and the company’s investment “will be a winning combination”.

How the outside of The Mill will look when the work is complete

He said: "We're delighted Alex and Gary have taken on the Mill Tavern.

“Alex knows the pub and the local community personally and is passionate about creating a great family and dog friendly local for residents.

“Over the last four years a lot of houses have been built in the area with more planned yet there are few invested in pubs offering food that can cater for them.”

He added: “Heineken is a passionate supporter of the great British pub and is investing £50million this year in pubs like The Mill Tavern ensuring they continue to be relevant to their local communities and are sustainable in the long-term."

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Alex and Gary Davison are the new licencees at The Mill Tavern

Plans for the pub

The Mill is due to reopen in September, with the revamp cash being spent updating and upgrading the pub, giving it “a modern look with a retro twist”.

The interior is being opened up with pillars removed to improve viewing and create a spacious bar suitable for drinking, coffees and casual dining as well as a quieter restaurant area.

There will also be a new kitchen to enable the pub to offer fresh home cooked food, new oak flooring with tiling around the bar area, exposed brick walls and four large HDTVs ensuring sport can be seen anywhere in the pub.

“Colourful soft furnishing and high-quality mood lighting will add to the atmosphere,” says Star Pubs & Bars, adding “the loos are also being completely overhauled with new fittings and décor”.

Outside, the pub is getting a makeover including a “fresh dark green and khaki render, signage and lighting” as well as landscaping work and a reworked beer garden at the front of the pub.

What will be on offer?

Foodwise, there will be a new menu offering traditional pub classics and a carvery on a Sunday.

The drinks will include craft lagers, draught ales and draught and bottled cider, wine for all budgets, and a spirits menu including 30 different gins and cocktails.

Alex's plans for entertainment at The Mill Tavern include: Live Sky sports, a quiz night and darts as well as live local bands on the last Friday of the month

The Mill Tavern will be open from 11am to 11pm for “barista-style” coffee and drinks with food served daily from 12pm to 9pm.