Dougie’s Tavern returning to Hebburn after shut pub bought by businessman Tony Singh

A once-popular pub in South Tyneside could be the toast of the town the second time around when it reopens under its best-known moniker – 20 years after its heyday.

By Gareth Crickmer
Monday, 25 February, 2019, 09:03
White Lead to re-open as Dougies Tavern

Not only will Dougie’s Tavern reclaim its name, but its new boss will be Norman Scott, who managed it for seven years during its 1990s peak.

He has been installed as the licensee at The White Lead, in Blackett Street, Hebburn, by new owner Tony Singh, whose Premier Leisure group has snapped it up for a six-figure sum.

New owner Tony Singh

They plan a return to the basics of good beer, English-themed food, and live sport and music.

The Victorian-built property, in Blackett Street, opened as Dougie’s Tavern in December 1992 and enjoyed huge success, but it closed in about 2005, and attempts to establish it under other names failed. It ceased trading as The White Lead – a pub and restaurant – late last year.

It was sold to Mr Singh by North East-based Sonnet 43 Brew House earlier this month and is now undergoing a refurbishment ahead of reopening on Friday, March 15.

Mr Scott, 57, said: “We want to bring the good times back to Hebburn. Dougie’s Tavern was a great pub back in the day, and we want to recreate that. I drove past the pub around Christmas and realised that Hebburn is crying out for Dougie’s to be back in business.

Landlord Norman Scott

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“I was there for seven years. It really was the place to be, people would come from all over the North East to drink there, Kevin Keegan even popped in when he was manager of Newcastle.

“To be a success, Dougie’s needs to be a pub that serves food and not a restaurant that sells beer.”

Under a refurbishment, the bar will moved to its original location at the back of the property, and there will be a children’s play area.

A carvery will be staffed by chefs Graeme Young and Scott Rutherford who are part of a 20-strong full and part-time workforce.

Sonnet 43 opened the site as The White Lead in 2013, a move based around an £800,000 renovation, and traded successfully until January last year.

Mr Singh, whose company owns 20 pubs in South Tyneside and 54 in the North East, said: “This pub needs the right operator.

“Other places seem to be going though a phase of trendy food but Dougie’s needs traditional English food. Norman is very experienced in the industry, he will give Dougie’s a new lease of life.”