A PUB which has been closed for more than two years will reopen in just a few weeks’ time – and the couple running it say families and dogs are welcome.

Building work started this week on a £450,000 upgrade of The Happy Wanderer in Framwellgate, Durham, which is due to reopen with a new name – The Gate- in early February.

Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars1 and the new licensees, engaged couple David Hobson and Estelle McKee, aim to make it “a top-quality family friendly neighbourhood pub” which is creating 25 new jobs by reopening.

Mr Hobson said: “Estelle and I are excited by the massive potential of The Gate and are looking forward to living at the pub and getting to know our neighbours and other local residents.

“It’s a lovely area it just needs a great family-friendly local where you can get a good home home-cooked meal.

"We want The Gate to become the social hub of the community where there is always something going on and everyone is welcome.”

The revamp will see the pub, on Beech Road, given a more modern look and feel.

The Northern Echo:

Outside, the tired looking building will be repainted grey and new lighting and signage fitted.

A new terrace at the front is being created featuring a mix of timber and painted furniture, parasols and greenery.

The beer garden will have seating for 120, a children’s play area and a terrace with rustic planters and vintage string lights.

Well-behaved dogs will be welcome in the garden.

The interior is being opened up to make it more spacious with an open plan bar lounge and dining area created.

Timber floors and fires are being renovated and the pub redecorated with new warm timber clad walls, carpet and lighting and an eclectic mix of wooden furniture and deep button leather booth style seating.

A new kitchen is being installed with an open pass to allow customers to see chefs cooking their meals and there will be a dessert area near the kitchen with a dedicated ice cream display fridge and cones.

The toilets are being upgraded and a new accessible loo installed together with an accessible ramp entrance to the pub to facilitate access for disabled customers.

The Gate will be David and Estelle’s first pub but both have many years of hospitality experience including roles as general managers for Tomahawk Steak House.

They are currently working at The Fox & Hounds in Neasham, near Darlington, which is owned by Estelle’s family.

Their plans for the pub include showing live sports, hosting regular live music, a weekly quiz and ‘drag bingo’ as well as Fish Fridays, Fizz Fridays and other events.

On the food front, they say there will be coffee and cakes from 10am in the morning and sandwiches and light bites at lunch.

The evening menu will feature pub classics; pie, curry and pasta dishes of the day, hanging kebabs and a seafood sharing board and butcher’s board and Teesside speciality, chicken Parmo.

It will also serve Sunday roasts.

Drinks-wise, The Gate will offer two cask ales and craft options, an extensive gin range, cocktails of the week and a selection of prosecco, rose and red and white wines.

A Smart Dispense system for draught beer and cider which reduces waste, water and energy consumption is being installed as part of the refurbishment.

Star Pubs & Bars business development manager Paul Gilmore said: “We’re delighted to be investing in The Gate, helping David and Estelle to create somewhere the community can be proud of.

“It needed the right licensees with the right vision to take it forward, which it now has. With new housing being built nearby, there’s a real need for a pub of this calibre within walking distance.

“I wish David and Estelle well and the Framwellgate residents many happy days ahead at their new pub.”


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