Local lasses aim to give landmark pub a new lease of life

BIG CHALLENGE ... for business partners Janice Watson and Ann Powell.
BIG CHALLENGE ... for business partners Janice Watson and Ann Powell.

A SOUTH Tyneside community has been asked to rally in support of a landmark borough pub after it re-opened for business.

The Simonside Arms in Newcastle Road, Simonside, South Shields, is one of the borough’s largest and most prominent watering holes.

It is also a landmark building for motorists heading into and out of South Shields.

Known locally as the ‘Sima Arms’, it closed in the middle of June after its previous licensee decided to cease trading.

Now two “local lasses” have joined forces to give the venue a new lease of life.

Janice Watson, who worked at the pub as a barmaid for four years before its closure on Father’s Day, is working alongside her friend, South Tyneside Council worker Ann Powell.

Both women live close by and have frequented the pub for years.

They want to restore the bar to its rightful place at the heart of the local community.

And they say former regulars are ensured of a warm welcome if they return.

Janice, 55, has taken on the day-to -day running of the business, while Ann will be around at the weekend and some evenings.

Ann said: “It really is a big challenge and we really want to build the old clientèle back up again.

“We’ve already had a very positive feedback on Facebook, with a little party we had in on Saturday saying how lovely and friendly the atmosphere was when they were in.

“This has always been a family pub and it has a great play area. We took on the challenge because it is a lovely pub and we just didn’t want to see it die.”

The venue was always famous for its Sunday lunches, and that’s a tradtion the new business partners are planning to continue.

A pool team, a Sunday morning football team and a male darts team are also on the agenda.

Both Janice and Ann were formerly members of the women’s darts team at the pub - but it has proved just too late to register a team this season.

Janice added: “We intend to work as hard as we can to build trade up again and we need local people to come along and support us in that.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul