Tin of Sardines directors Lord Trevor Davis, Ben Davis and Bethany Jayne Hardy.
Jane Imrie

Owner of ‘world’s smallest gin bar’ eyes historic seaside site for new venue

A hospitality group has unveiled new plans to revive a historic building at a North East coastal location.

The Davis Family, owner of ‘the world’s smallest gin bar’ Tin of Sardines in Durham, has announced plans to open a new venue in Sunderland.

The firm has agreed a 10 year lease with Sunderland City Council for the former Roker Toilet Block on Pier View, and is set to invest over £60k into the refurbishment of the site - creating 10 new jobs.

Founded by father and son business partners Lord Trevor and Ben Davis, Tin of Sardines first opened its doors on Durham’s historic Elvet Bridge in 2017, with the venue holding just 16 people and stocking over 200 varieties of gin.

Tin of Sardines co-owner Ben Davis explained: “The Tin of Sardines business has been a real success since we first opened our doors in Durham three and a half years ago and we’d been mulling over a third venue for some time until we saw the former Roker Toilet Block hit the market.

“Tin of Sardines is built on providing a quaint, relaxed atmosphere, where people can meet, eat and drink away from the hustle and bustle.

“Identifying locations that nurture such an environment has been one of the key factors in our success and for my money – with its breathtaking views of the promenade and idyllic location – there aren’t many sites in the North East that could come close to this aesthetically.”

Cllr Rebecca Atkinson, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for dynamic city, added: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Tin of Sardines to the city and it fills us with even more pride to see a local family returning home to invest in the city.

“The council and its partners have invested millions of pounds in the seafront over recent years and it’s great to see this bearing fruit with the attraction of success stories such as Tin of Sardines. We’d like to wish them all the best for the future.”

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