Electric East restaurateur takes on derelict Newcastle pub

The Greyhound pub in Newcastle is to reopen after getting a 'Vivienne Westwood meets Alfred Hitchcock' makeover

Mark Lagun and Tim Gray
Mark Lagun and Tim Gray

A derelict pub in central Newcastle is to be converted into a traditional pub with a twist in a £400,000 project.

The Greyhound on Pitt Street is set to reopen under new ownership as The Earl of Pitt Street in the latest project by Mark Lagun, award-winning restaurateur and founder of the highly acclaimed Electric East.

Together with his wife Libby, who is helping to revamp their latest venue, Mr Lagun said he wants the venue to remain true to its roots as a traditional pub, which offering exquisite food and interior decor described as “Vivienne Westwood meets Alfred Hitchcock”.

The venue, which dates from the 1880s and had a chequered history in the years leading up to its closure four years ago, is set to reopen in its new form next month, and work is now well underway to create an interior that Mark likens to “stepping into the Tardis”.

He said: “There is nothing like it in Newcastle, it will be totally unique. There are some great places around here, but I wanted to step it up a bit more and create somewhere that is absolutely ‘wow’.

“A lot of old pubs are being knocked down or refurbished to such a degree you forget what they used to be like. I wanted to retain the character of the place, as one of the only remaining traditional pubs in the city and the last original pub from the Scottish & Newcastle site.

“The outside is going to be a beautiful traditional old pub with hanging baskets, but the only way I can describe the interior is Vivienne Westwood meets Alfred Hitchcock.

“Decor is going to be a massive part of The Earl of Pitt Street. There are going to be open fires, lots of artwork around the place, curtains which I have designed myself in a camouflage tartan pattern.

“Alongside that will be a selection of cask ales from local breweries and a really wide variety of fantastic bistro-style food.

“I also want it to be like the ‘Cheers’ bar we used to see on television – where you get a genuine friendly welcome, and it’s much more like a restaurant than a pub in terms of the personal service and attention you get. We’ve even created an upstairs smoking area which has a serving hatch to make it as much a part of the pub as we can, so no-one feels excluded or on the outside.

“This is going to be a venue which people will never have seen the like of before, but which they will want to come back to time and time again.”

The creation of The Earl of Pitt Street has been supported legally by Newcastle law firm Sintons, with Partners Tim Gray and Sarah Smith overseeing the property and licensing work respectively.

Tim Gray, who has acted for Mark Lagun for over 20 years, said: “Mark is very well known for running some of Newcastle’s best venues and putting his own unique stamp on them, and The Earl of Pitt Street promises to be another gem. If anyone knows how to open a venue like this and make it a success, it’s Mark”

“Its location is ideal for attracting business people, students and football fans on matchdays, and I’m certain it will make a lasting impression on each and every customer who visits.”

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