Ponteland’s historic Grade II listed pub, The Blackbird, has been given a new lease of life.
The pub, which occupies the former site of Ponteland Castle destroyed in 1388, has been taken over by Four&20.
The new North East Pub group has been set up by former media business owner Chris Armstrong and one-time PwC employee turned real estate investor, Lee Douglass.
The Blackbird is Four&20’s first foray into the pub trade.
Chris and Lee have joined forces with Glen David Robson who was head chef at Terry Laybourne’s Café Vivo for more than six years and has also worked at restaurants around the world.
Chris says: “Lee and I would have the occasional pint in The Blackbird and talked about how much we liked it and how much potential it had. When it came on the market we moved fast and met with the owner and management.
“Other pub groups were interested, but we were incredibly enthusiastic about what we could do here.
“We feel we are bringing something new and refreshing to Ponteland through a mix of great food and beer, and superb wines.
“There are two other pubs in the area and it is well served by Indian and Italian restaurants, but The Blackbird specialises in exceptional fresh quality food with a menu sourced locally, and that is quite different.“
Neither Chris nor Lee has a pub background as such. But Chris adds: “We are very determined and creative and full of ideas about what we want. We are very precise in our thinking and we are enjoying implementing the first stage in a new era for The Blackbird.
“A clear indication of how determined we are to make this a success is that Glen has joined us. It’s a real coup to have him on-board and he’s the first of many high profile appointments we hope to make.”
Chris and Lee have also employed a historian to research the history of the pub site, which first appeared in records in the 13th century, and from there hope to create an eye-catching installation.