Work has begun on a £250,000 refurbishment of a historic Newcastle pub, now in the hands of the man behind the likes of Barluga and Perdu.
Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, and lessees Bar Hound, are jointly investing the funds in transforming LYH, off Northumberland Street, into a landmark food-led bar and open kitchen.
The venue, which will reopen at the beginning of March, will be renamed City Tavern – its original title when the building became a bar back in 1971.
Those behind the refurbishment say the new look will be light and airy with the emphasis on style and comfort.
Decor, meanwhile, will reflect a traditional urban look with sumptuous fixtures and fittings, while seating areas will be reconfigured to provide a mix of fixed seating and cosy booths, they added.
City Tavern is the first site for Bar Hound which, as well as running bars, is a licensed trade and leisure design company founded by North East entrepreneur David King, who sold his previous leisure business, Fluid Group, in 2013.
Fluid ran Newcastle city centre coffee houses, gastro-pubs and bars, such as Barluga, Central Bean, Perdu and Fluid Bar.
Star Pubs & Bars, with Bar Hound, take over LYH from the Head of Steam pub group, which sold the rest of its portfolio to Camerons Brewery last year.
In recent months, it has been in the hands of a temporary management company.
King said: “Situated right in the heart of Newcastle, and with capacity for 450 people, this multi-level venue is going to be a great destination for people to meet for excellent coffee and cask ale and to enjoy some of the best locally-sourced home-cooked food in the city. As well as a place that people will want to eat and drink in it will be a showcase for Bar Hound’s design expertise.”
The move represents the latest in a series of transformations for the iconic building at 10 Northumberland Road, which started life as a stables and livery in 1872.
Throughout its history, it has had many uses, including office accommodation and a garage.
In 1923, the front elevation was remodelled with the well-known Tudor facade, and, from that date, the venue was operated by Carricks Dairy, becoming Cottage Restaurant between 1951 and 1959, Carrick’s Cafe between 1959 and 1962 and Tilley’s Cafe between 1962 and 1971.
The property was at that point transformed into one of Newcastle’s most famous city-centre pubs, the City Tavern, and since that point has undergone several style and name changes.
Chris Jowsey, trading director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “We’re delighted that David, with his wealth of experience of running successful bars, restaurants and coffee houses, has taken on City Tavern and that together we are investing in its long-term future.
“Pubs like this need ongoing investment to ensure they continue to appeal to customers and their fast-changing tastes and needs. Heineken is a passionate supporter of the great British pub and is committed to investing in its Star Pubs & Bars.
“This year we will be investing more than ever in upgrading our pubs, creating jobs and places that people want to visit. We now own around 1,285 pubs like City Tavern, the majority of which are operated by small independent businesses.”