Having a new business on the high street is always a positive for a town or village centre - whether it's a pub, shop, or leisure facility.

It's always exciting to see a new business - filling a gap on the high street in a unit that has been empty for a while or a new coffee spot that looks good and you want to try. 

In January 2024, numerous businesses opened in County Durham and Darlington - including pizza places, pubs, and even a reopening for a swimming pool. 

The Northern Echo has rounded up four places that have opened (or reopened) in January 2024.

Without further ado, here's the list: 

Dolphin Centre Darlington

The Northern Echo: The Dolphin Centre pool, Darlington

Darlington's Dolphin Centre's main pool re-opened after being closed for over a year following a £3.9 million investment into renovation works at the facility.

New details of booking times for lanes, family swimming and diving boards have also been posted online by the council and are accessible to customers now that it opened on January 26.

A statement by the centre read: "The Dolphin Centre is delighted to announce that the main pool will reopen on Friday, January 26 2024 at 6.30am.

"As previously communicated, this will continue to require alternative access arrangements due to the toddler pool area and walkway still undergoing works."

The Miners Arms in Medomsley

The Northern Echo: The Miners Arms in Medomsley, near Consett, might have spent a period with its doors shut in 2023,

The Miners Arms in Medomsley, near Consett, might have spent a period with its doors shut in 2023, but its new owners gave it a grand reopening on Friday, January 12. 

The traditional pub, which is located around two miles out of Consett and has always had a reputation for good food and drinks in the community, was looking for new owners at points in 2023.

However, it has now undergone a revamp and change of strategy after new owners took over at the latter stages of last year and couldn't wait to get started after announcing that Friday would be its first day of service. 

It's expected that the pub will see a surge in live music after it was announced that a singer would be performing at the grand opening of the Miner's Arms.

The Printworks Cocktail Bar

The Northern Echo: The Printworks, Seaham.

A former American-style restaurant in County Durham re-opened its doors as a cocktail bar with a brand new look and expansive drinks menu.

The Printworks Cocktail Bar and Lounge on Stockton Road in Seaham re-opened on January 19 under a new name and ownership as it rebrands into an upmarket cocktail bar.

Formerly known as The Ranch Meat House before its closure earlier this month, the site's main building has been sold and the side extension has undergone a small renovation.

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The new menu includes 45 different cocktails, draught beer, wines and spirits as director Adam Thompson hopes the dog-friendly bar will offer "something for everyone". 

Ahead of the opening, he said: "We are hoping to hire acoustic singers and make the live music quite low-key and use as many local artists as possible.

"In terms of what we're doing now, we're putting our own touch on things. New draught beers, a new range of spirits and over 45 cocktails on the menu."

Hideaway Bar and Pizzeria, Darlington

The Northern Echo: Hideaway Bar & Pizzeria

Hideaway Bar & Pizzeria shut at the start of January 2024 to undergo a refurbishment - it has now reopened though.

During that time it was painted, decorated and had a new heating system installed.

The staff have already been getting good feedback on the refurbishment, which was completed on January 19.

Tom Dexter, owner and operator of Hideaway Bar & Pizzeria, said: "After a good reaction on social media we can see people are looking forward too seeing the changes we have made to the bar after being closed for 2 weeks.