Pub aims to take off again

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A WELL-KNOWN Ponteland pub will soon be back in business.

The Blackbird on North Road was taken over and refurbished by the Washington-based Principle Leisure Group in 2010, but closed its doors again last year after the firm went into administration.

Now it has been taken on by the Spirit Pub Company, which owns around 800 licensed premises in the UK.

Given the unique nature of the building, which dates back hundreds of years and used to be a castle and manor house, it has decided to lease the establishment to an experienced operator based in the North East – Leopard Leisure Leased Ltd run by Harry Costigan.

Refurbishment work has started and the pub is set to open in early May.

Mr Costigan said: “The Blackbird is a very beautiful building and our aim is to take it back to its former glory.

“The previous people in charge decided to turn it into more of a restaurant and they were doing okay until they suffered financial problems, but even though we will have a decent food menu, our focus is on making this a friendly pub with a good atmosphere where people can come for a few drinks and a chat.

“We’re very confident that it will be a success in the long-term. There is a lot of interest in the re-opening – many local residents have been asking our contractors about what is happening.

“The Blackbird has had an unfortunate time of it in recent years, but we think people will come back once they see that we have given it some tender loving care.”

The new drinks offering will include a range of high-quality cask ales.

The eye-catching features of the building include a Tudor fireplace, a Jacobean players’ gallery in the upstairs function room and an ancient tower.