THE owners of a new town centre pub say they say they have big plans for its future.

Neal and Alison Gray, along with business partner James Nielsen, have taken on the Bondgate Tavern in Darlington – and hope to create a community hub there.

Mr Gray said: “We already run a pub in Norton, and James and I were interested in opening a pub in Darlington because we know the town well from going out ourselves.

“We got the premises in December last year but it needed a full re-fit so has taken until now to be ready for opening.”

The Bondgate Tavern opened last week and has already been popular with local drinkers.

The Northern Echo: Bondgate Tavern in Darlington. Neal Gray, Alison Gray and James Nielsen. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTBondgate Tavern in Darlington. Neal Gray, Alison Gray and James Nielsen. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Mr Gray said: “We have a fresh, modern bar area, and function room upstairs, and a games room with pool table and dart board.

“We are serving upmarket lagers, real ales which we will change regularly, and a wide range of gins.”

Mrs Gray added: “We are hoping to get the function room up and running for Christmas, and we will not be charging for use of the room.

“We want to bring the community together.

“It was great when we opened because the football was on and we had a split of people watching the match and others just listening to music, but even people that had not come together ended up spending the evening chatting and enjoying themselves.

“That is what we want from the pub, to be a really spot for the community to come together and enjoy themselves.”

Plans for events at the pub include quizzes, open mic evenings, karaoke, and live music, using local talent where possible.

The pub is not currently serving food, but there are plans to serve a menu once they have become more established.