Paving the way to pub’s new feature

John and Kimberley Calton and James Laffen outside the Staith House.

John and Kimberley Calton and James Laffen outside the Staith House.

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Work has begun on creating a new dining area at a popular pub.

Around £50,000 is being spent on the refurbishment of the quay outside the Staith House, on North Shields Fish Quay, to create a new alfresco dining area.

Work started on Monday and is expected to take three weeks to complete, with the Staith House being open as usual.

The joint investment by Star Pubs & Bars and licensees John and Kimberley Calton and James Laffen will see the front of the pub re-landscaped with new paving and planters full of greenery as well as tables and chairs providing seating for 40 people.

There will be a barbecue during summer months and a semi-sheltered area and outdoor heaters to extend the weeks and months in which people can enjoy sitting outside overlooking the quay.

Five new jobs are being created on the back of the investment.

John said: “The investment will breathe new life into this end of the quay, be more pleasing on the eye and hopefully attract more people down to visit the quay.

“Customers will be delighted, as it is the one thing that has been missing. We’re the only place on the quay that owns land and can provide outside dining, so it will be great to make the most of it.

“We always look at ways to improve what we offer, so as well as the outside area we’re turning an upstairs room in the pub to another food preparation room, which will allow us to acquire new equipment and develop our food offer.”

The Staith House, which won the Best Food Award at the Great British Pub Awards last year, has also been shortlisted for the restaurant industry’s prestigious Catey Award for Best Newcomer.

The pub also ranked in the Esrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs earlier this year and John Calton was awarded the coveted Gastropub Chef of the year at the same awards.

The team will be attending the prize giving dinner today (Tuesday), when they will find out if they are the overall winner for the UK.