Sunderland Guide: Minster Quarter

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Location: On High Street West, Sunderland

The Minster Quarter, based in the west of Sunderland City Centre, is a district of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues that has seen significant regeneration and revival across the past decade. Coinciding with the former town of Bishopwearmouth, it has become one of the most fancy and attractive areas of Sunderland.


The medieval village of Bishopwearmouth was centred around St. Michael’s Church and the Village Green. Existing from at least the 9th century AD, the settlement possessed the household streets of “High Row” and “Low Row”, as well as “King’s Road” which is now High Street, connecting it to the village of Sunderland to the east which was at that time, a separate settlement. Starting from the 18th century, the two settlements ultimately expanded and merged.

The modern “Minster Quarter” is a strategy of regeneration pursued by local authorities which has sought to revive the area around the old church. This has included the creation of the “Town Park”, the regeneration of the Old Fire Station into a bar and restaurant, as well as a new auditorium to go with it. The developments surrounding Keel Square have also further supplemented the area, with many more to come.

See, Eat and Drink

The Minster Quarter is home to a wide variety of top notch bars and restaurants. First, don’t miss out on the historic and grand pubs of the Dun Cow and the Peacock. Both have recently been refurbished. As noted above, the Fire Station is also a must visit. In conjunction with that, other restaurants include Mexico 70, Spice Empire, No. 2 Church Lane (Burgers).

Bars in the area include: The Rabbit (formerly the Westminster), Streetbar SR1, Greens, Victors, Victoria’s Loft, Establishment, Halo Bar & Kitchen and Craigs Sports Bar & Grill,

The biggest entertainment venue in this area is obviously the Sunderland Empire Theatre, which hosts West End London musicals, but in addition (as noted above) the auditorium, an 800 capacity venue which also hosts many gigs and famous names.