This is the first of four F&B units to open at Keel Square. Credit: via Creo

Keel Tavern opens at Riverside Sunderland

With other leisure tenants lining up, operator Vaulkhard has thrown open the doors at the two-storey venue close to the city’s cultural quarter.

The Keel Tavern has a capacity of around 200 and space for a further 100 in the outside area, and has been designed to reflect Sunderland’s industrial and maritime heritage.

Underneath the Holiday Inn, the venue is part of the Vaulkhard Group, the company behind popular Newcastle bars Barluga, Town Wall, Bridge Tavern, Redhouse, Beehive and Bealim House, as well as venues around Gosforth and Northumberland.

The bar is the first of four F&B units on the ground floor of the hotel to open, with The Botanist and The Muddler – confirmed just this week – both having announced plans to move in, in 2024.

Ollie Vaulkhard, founder of Vaulkhard Group, said: “We are incredibly excited to be opening the Keel Tavern just in time for Christmas. The space is a real celebration of Sunderland’s culture and heritage, and we can’t wait to see the reaction to it.

“We’re looking forward to The Botanist and The Muddler opening too, to create a real destination, that will stitch neatly into Riverside Sunderland and the Cultural Quarter, where there are already a number of excellent bars, restaurants and leisure attractions.”

The venue is part of the ongoing transformation of Riverside Sunderland, and lies a short distance from where Kier has started work on the £25m Culture House.

Cllr Kevin Johnston, dynamic city portfolio holder at Sunderland City Council, said: “We are delighted to see the stunning Keel Tavern complete.

“What a magnificent addition this will be to the city’s hospitality scene. Sunderland has an increasingly vibrant evening economy, which reflects the level of ambition we have to create a brilliant place to live, work and play.”

Decor reflects maritime history. Credit: via Creo

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