The North East is lucky to boast a wide variety of businesses from restaurants and bars to historical sites and coffee shops, all of which can draw a roaring trade.

However, sometimes due to reasons beyond their control, businesses are left with no choice but to close for good, devastating customers.

This year, we have already lost everything from pubs to coffee shops and even a tourist venue to name a few.

Here's a list of some of the businesses which have closed down this year in the North East which have been covered by The Northern Echo.

The Raby Hunt restaurant, Darlington 

The two-starred Michelin-starred restaurant announced just four days into 2024 that it would be closing its doors for good on January 27.

Head chef James Close said that he stepped away to embark on a new challenge at Darlington's Rockliffe Hall. 

The restaurant was one of 20 two-Michelin-starred eateries in the whole of the UK, and it was also placed fourth in The Good Food Guide’s Top 20 Most Exciting UK Restaurants of 2022.

James said at the time: “I’m very thankful to all the people who have believed in us and been involved in our journey so far – repeat diners, guests travelling from further afield, chefs, suppliers, and Michelin, which has played a big part in my career – and we look forward to our continued relationship with all of them.”

The Northern Echo: Two Michelin star chef James Close says that he's stepping away from the Raby Hunt in Summerhouse to embark on a new challenge at Darlington's Rockliffe HallTwo Michelin star chef James Close says that he's stepping away from the Raby Hunt in Summerhouse to embark on a new challenge at Darlington's Rockliffe Hall (Image: RABY HUNT)

The Ranch Meat House, Seaham

The Ranch Meat House on Stockton Road, Seaham, announced it has closed on January 2 to its 27,000 followers.

Known for its wide menu of American-style burgers, fries as well as traditional Sunday dinner, the venue also held a function room which is used for parties and weddings.

A statement on Facebook read: "The Ranch would like to thank all its customers over the years but unfortunately we’ve made the decision to close the doors for the last time.

"The main building will be turned into something else, however, the function room on the side will remain open for bookings and is being taken over by an experienced operator who is going to put their own touch on things and improve it."

Since The Ranch closed, however, a new business named The Printworks opened up on part of its premises serving a wide range of drinks and cocktails.

The Northern Echo: The Ranch, Seaham.The Ranch, Seaham. (Image: GOOGLE MAPS)

The Gables Pub, Hemlington

Rising costs and family commitments were the reasons given for the closure of The Gables on Hemlington Village Road in January.

Despite owning the pub for ten years, the owners made the 'painful decision' to close its doors and announced the news on social media.

They said: "Well, where do we start? Unfortunately due to exasperating rising costs, we have had to make the painful decision to call it a day, and we will not be reopening.

"We need to look to the future of our family and cannot continue to subsidise the business any further.

"We have had the most incredible ten years here at The Gables and shared our highs and lows with the most epic and fantastic team that we could ever have dreamed of, thank you all for making us so proud!"

The Northern Echo: The Gables Pub Hemlington.The Gables Pub Hemlington. (Image: GOOGLE MAPS)

Avalon, Darlington 

A shock to many, late-night bar and music venue Avalon in Darlington announced its closure in mid-February.

The venue, which was known for its variety of DJs, drag performers and special guests became a highlight for partygoers in town and amassed over 12,000 followers online.

A statement by owner Lindsey Stephenson on Facebook confirmed the news and thanked the venue's customers over the years.

She wrote: "After months of trying to tackle rising costs of utilities, rent increases, staff cost, alcohol tax increases, business rates, taxes and a whole load more we’ve came to a very difficult decision to step away from Avalon and close the doors.

"We want to thank all our loyal customers and staff who have been supporting us since we took over in 2020."

The Northern Echo: Avalon, Darlington.Avalon, Darlington. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

Blagraves, Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle's oldest house, Blagraves, sold everything from cards and gifts to soft furnishings, and was recently renovated to showcase the history of the building.

However, it announced it would sadly be closing forever at the start of the year.

Announcing the news on Facebook, owners Eleanor Dinnes and her mother Louise said: "It with great sadness that I have to tell you with changes to our personal circumstances and Ill health we are announcing the closure of Blagraves.

"We have had a wonderful time with you all, restoring the building to the best of our ability and hopefully we have conserved the building for future generations with the work we have done."

The Northern Echo: Eleanor Dinnes.Eleanor Dinnes. (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

Starbucks, Dalton Park

Starbucks in Dalton Park revealed it would be closing its doors for the last time on March 10. 

A Starbucks spokesperson said: "We regularly review our portfolio to ensure our stores are in places that are relevant for our customers while also maintaining healthy business growth.

"We can confirm that our store in Dalton Park, County Durham will close on 10th March, however, we have plans to open a drive-thru in the area soon.

"We would like to thank our customers for their loyalty over the years and let them know can find their nearest store on Starbucks Store Locator."

The Northern Echo: Starbucks Dalton Park.Starbucks Dalton Park. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

The Gibraltar Rock, Tynemouth

After 33 years in the same family, The Gibraltar Rock pub in Tynemouth confirmed that it will not be re-opening after it closed on New Year's Day.

In a statement posted to social media they blamed rising costs, including a £60k energy bill last year.

The owners said: “Despite many great years, challenges such as Covid, storm Arwen, and the energy crisis have taken a huge toll.

“Rising costs across the board, including a £60k increase in our electricity bill alone last year, have made the future of the business unsustainable.


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“The current and future economic climate further contributed to our decision to close our doors permanently.

“Unfortunately, after 33 years, it's time to say goodbye.”

The Northern Echo: The Gibraltar Rock, Tynemouth.The Gibraltar Rock, Tynemouth. (Image: GOOGLE)