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Stunning photos as city centre venue opens doors

16 November, 2023

Keel Tavern

Riverside Sunderland's Keel Tavern has opened its doors, unveiling a stunning new venue in the heart of the city.

The impressive two-storey space, with an internal capacity of around 200 and space for a further 100 in the outside area, has been tastefully decorated to reflect the city's rich industrial and maritime heritage. It officially opens today, adding to Sunderland's rapidly improving leisure and hospitality offer.

Dog friendly both inside and out, the venue - tucked underneath the Holiday Inn Keel Square - offers craft ales and locally sourced beer, as well as hearty pub grub such as the classic pie.

The Keel Tavern is part of the Vaulkhard Group, the company behind popular Newcastle bars Barluga, Town Wall, Bridge Tavern, Redhouse, Beehive and Bealim House, as well as venues around Gosforth and Northumberland. The bar is the first of four F&B (food and beverage) units on the ground floor of the hotel to open, with The Botanist and The Muddler both having announced plans to move in, in 2024.

Ollie Vaulkhard, founder of Vaulkhard Group, said: "We are incredibly excited to be opening the Keel Tavern just in time for Christmas. The space is a real celebration of Sunderland's culture and heritage, and we can't wait to see the reaction to it.

"We're looking forward to The Botanist and The Muddler opening too, to create a real destination, that will stitch neatly into Riverside Sunderland and the Cultural Quarter, where there are already a number of excellent bars, restaurants and leisure attractions."

The venue is part of the ongoing transformation of Riverside Sunderland, creating 30 new jobs, and providing a major boost to the city's leisure scene.

Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city portfolio holder at Sunderland City Council, said: "We are delighted to see the stunning Keel Tavern complete. What a magnificent addition this will be to the city's hospitality scene. Sunderland has an increasingly vibrant evening economy, which reflects the level of ambition we have to create a brilliant place to live, work and play."

For more information, visit riversidesunderland.com or follow Riverside Sunderland on social media.

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