First look as the Sand Dancer in South Shields reopens as beach bar after massive £130,000 revamp
The seafront pub will welcome back customers after the lockdown restrictions are eased this weekend following a huge redevelopment.
New bosses at the Sand Dancer last year revealed plans to transform the Sea Road venue into a beach bar and restaurant as part of a major £130,000 investment.
Work had been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown, but is finally ready for the pub to reopen its doors on Monday, July 6 – two days after the lockdown restrictions are lifted on Saturday, July 4.
The new outdoor area features beach huts, heated pergolas, fire pits and a fully-fitted bar serving cocktails, bottles, draft beers, soft drinks and coffee.
The idea is for the space to be open all-year-round – even in the unpredictable North East weather – increasing capacity at the pub by more than 200.
“It's much better than we had expected, it makes a really big visual impact at night and the response online has been really positive,” said manager Ed Chilton.
“We had already submitted the plans earlier this year after we tuned into the trend for outdoor dining and drinking. The idea was to create a space that is usable whatever the weather.
“Its turned out to be really useful in light of the new social distancing.”
Strict measures will be in place in line with government guidance, with a maximum of eight for group bookings indoors and out.
One-way systems are in place inside the pub, with signs directing people where to queue and advising of the guidance.
An automatic check-in system will be in use on arrival, which securely stores customers details for the NHS track and trace system.
Bosses are currently running a recruitment drive and have taken on six new staff members to cope with the new measures, with more set to be employed in the coming weeks.
“We decided to remain closed for an extra couple of days to keep our staff and customers safe,” added Ed.
“We’re confident that we have done everything we can and we’re looking forward to welcoming people back.
“We want people to come and enjoy themselves but we just hope that everyone is sensible and respectful.”