A landmark pub in South Tyneside is moving with the times by setting itself up for a new-look future with a major £725,000 refurbishment.
Work has started to transform The Sundial pun on the seafront in South Shields, into an upmarket bar, restaurant and conference and special events venue.
As well as a total internal overhaul – and name change to New Sundial - customers will see a dramatic alteration to its exterior when it reopens at Easter.
An existing beer garden facing Bents Park will be extended to the pavement on Sea Road, to include an unused and unsightly large grassed area.
Once remodelled, bosses hope to develop it in part for live music, supporting the traditional council-run summer seafront entertainment festival.
Its first floor suite is also being redeveloped with the aim of attracting weddings and other events, including corporate days.
Part of this will see the sea-facing rear balcony altered through new glazed windows to become a comfortable and sizeable space for socialising.
The overhaul comes just months after the former Greene King outlet was bought by South Tyneside businessman Tony Singh, also for £725,000.
Bal Gill, 31, director of Sundial Bars Ltd, part of Mr Singh’s Premier Leisure company, which also owns the Hedworth Hall at Westoe, said: “We are very exciting by this change.
“The work we are doing will bring a totally new focus to the New Sundial and to its place on the seafront.
“The ground floor will be a bar and restaurant with high-quality fittings, giving it an entirely new and better look and we aim to make the first floor the perfect place for weddings and similar events, as we hope to have a heavy corporate presence.”
He added: “We are leasing the front grassed area from the council and will turn it into a lovely entertainment space.
“It is an area that clearly needs work doing to it, but it will be fantastic when finished – it will be great for the people of South Tyneside and for tourists.”
The image change will see the children’s play area, and pool table and darts board removed.
In their place will be bistro-style restaurant and bar, complete with two feature seated fire pits.
The venue will also be dog-friendly, with a special section possibly being developed where owners can take refreshments with their pets.
A previous planning application to extend the first floor balcony was rejected by South Tyneside Council on safety grounds.
The New Sundial, which will employ around 20 full and part-time staff, is expected to reopen for the Easter bank holidays.
Mr Gill confirmed he was in talks with several North East-based award winning chefs to take up post.
He is also seeking bar staff, and anyone interested can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org