The design pays homage to local history. Credit: Pulp Studios Design House

GALLERY | Vaulkhard offers glimpse of Keel Tavern

Images of what the group’s venue at Riverside Sunderland will look like on its November launch have been released by designer Pulp Studios Design House.

The Keel Tavern will sit under the Holiday Inn at Keel Square, which opened in December 2022. It will be a neighbour to bar and restaurant The Botanist, and will see 30 new jobs created.

Place North East understands that pan-Asian venue The Muddler is also being lined up for a Keel Square unit.

Taken together, the leisure lettings are a boost to the Riverside Sunderland project, adding further impetus in an area that has already seen the opening of the Fire Station music and events venue. Kier is lined up to deliver the Culture House, mapped out by the council as a flagship destination.

The Keel Tavern is the latest in a string of openings from North East hospitality firm the Vaulkhard Group, best known for its Barluga venues, and Newcastle’s The Bridge Tavern and Redhouse.

However, this will mark the group’s first foray south of Tyneside and will see its portfolio grow to 19 venues across the region.

Oliver Vaulkhard, founder of Vaulkhard Group, said: “We are incredibly excited to be opening the Keel Tavern just in time for Christmas.

“The individual charm of the venue and the fantastic food and drink offer we have crafted will create a really compelling offer which we’re sure will prove a huge hit with residents and visitors alike.

“It will also tie in with the ongoing transformation of Riverside Sunderland, which alongside the opening of The Botanist, Holiday Inn and The Stables at Sheepfolds, will see the venue provide a huge boost to both the city’s day and night-time leisure economies.

“Previously, we’d only ever looked north of Tyneside when scoping out new venues, however the ongoing transformation of Sunderland presented us with an opportunity too good to miss and I’m sure there’ll be plenty more businesses turning their attention to the city as we look to the future.”

The designs for the Keel Tavern were produced by North East interior design specialist, Pulp Studios Design House.

Briefed with paying homage to the brewing history of the area – the Vaux site lies a short distance away – and its industrial and maritime heritage, the designs will see the two-storey venue decorated with ‘oversized still tops’ and barrels.

Founder of Pulp Studios, Gerard Mcelvenny, said: “This project presented an opportunity to create something truly special to compliment the superb offering already here in the city.

“The brief was to create a contemporary craft beer and fine food venue for 21st century hospitality guests. Ollie wanted us to embrace the brewing history in this part of the city. All the while, with a modern and impactful approach to the interior, and I’m confident our visuals demonstrate that.”

Cllr Kevin Johnston, portfolio holder for dynamic city at Sunderland Council, added: “We are delighted that the Keel Tavern will be joining The Botanist and the Holiday Inn at Keel Square this year.

“The Vaulkard Group have an impeccable record of launching and growing popular pubs and restaurant brands and I’m sure the Keel Tavern will be the latest in its long line of successful ventures.”

Click any image to launch gallery. Credit for all images: Pulp Studios Design House

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