Ladhar Leisure have turned the former Offshore 44 bar into a spectacular cavernous bar and smokehouse, bringing a taste of the States to Tyneside.
The company has forked out £700,000 turning the pub into the Hop & Cleaver – a bar and smokehouse promising meat, cask ales, cocktails and bourbon, creating 30 jobs.
And they enlisted designer and two time Northern Interior Designer of the Year Simon McIlwraith of Gateshead’s Collective Design to give the venue its new look.
We had a look inside ahead of its opening to the public on Friday night.
He said: “I would like people to walk in and see something they’ve never seen before.
“Ultimately they should walk away and feel they’ve been part of something special. As a designer, that’s always important.
“The operation is very strong with the smokehouse, the brewery and the bourbon – and I’m creating something that will complement all three of them.
“Get that right, and that get wow factor happening, and we’ll have created something that really is jaw dropping.”
Set in a 17th Century Jacobean timber framed building, Offshore 44 was once the lynchpin of NewcastleQuayside’s night scene, tempting in thousands of drinkers every weekend.
However, last orders were called at the pub – and most of the ones around it including Bob Trollope’s, Julie’s and The Cooperage – when revellers started favouring other drinking circuits in the city centre, namely Collingwood Street’s so-called Diamond Strip.
Now that the area is enjoying a huge surge in popularity, hoteliers and restaurant owners are flocking back to open new ventures.
We’ve already announced how Julie’s is being turned into a new nighttime venue called Tiger Hornsby, and Gainford Hotels – owners of Bar Livello and Vermont Hotel – are turning Chase Bar into a luxury aparthotel, with an adjoining night time venue.
Hop & Cleaver is the fourth venue Ladhar Leisure has opened in Newcastle of late, coming hot on the heels of Pleased to Meet You – also designed by Simon McIlwraith – and Lady Grey’s and Redhouse.
Barry Ladhar, director of Ladhar Leisure, said the firm has invested more than a £1m on the Quayside in the last year.
Ladhar: “We are delighted to open another quality venue bringing a new concept to the Quayside, which is undergoing something of a renaissance.
“Alongside Redhouse, which is now firmly established as the place for pies and mash, we have invested over £1m on the Quayside. It is creating a real buzz down by the river again which is great for Tyneside’s very important night-time economy and particularly pleasing for such an iconic part of our city”
The Hop & Cleaver also has its own brewery which will produce exclusive cask ales on the premises, with punters being able to see the ales being created and served alongside a range of other popular craft beers.
There will also be more than 50 rare bourbons from the USA on offer to complement the food.