Sunderland Global Media is proud to post our very first pub crawl guide. Our first route is one we call “The Historical Bars of Sunderland” a concise trail which focuses on the oldest, most iconic and grandest pubs in Sunderland City Centre along a clear concise route which roughly follows High Street West and East. We are confident that the city has some of the finest pubs in Britain, and we truly hope you will enjoy and find this guide useful! Try it out with your friends.
1) The Ship ISIS (1885)
This pub was opened in the year 1885, making it one of the oldest pubs in the City, and has a reputation to go with it having won the CAMRA’s Sunderland and South Tyneside Pub of the Year for 2019. Given its age, the ship ISIS also has a reputation for being one of the most “haunted” pubs in the North East. It is said to host the ghost of the infamous Victorian female serial killer Mary Ann Cotton, who purportedly buried the bodies of two of her own children in the tunnels heading to the river from the basement.
2) The Dun Cow (1901)
Location: 9 High St W, Sunderland SR1 3HA
After ISIS, you cross the A183 and head onto High Street West to reach the Dun Cow. Opposite the Empire Theatre, the, the Dun Cow Pub is another antique pub opened in 1901. It is known for having one of the grandest and most visually appealing architectural traits in the city. Standing four storeys high with a peculiar tower poking out of the top. It is both fancy and novel in its design, you can’t not have this on your bucketlist!
3) The Peacock (1770)
Once you’ve finished up in the Dun Cow, head just down the road to visit its sister pub, The Peacock, another architectural marvel. Built in the same year as the former, the Peacock is in fact the recent rebranding of a venue that was known as “The Londonderry”. However, the Peacock was in fact the old name of a former pub building which existed on the same site since 1770! It’s a great venue with a very pleasant environment.
4) The Clarendon/The Butcher’s Arms (1724)
It’s now time to walk a bit! Stick to High Street and follow it straight eastwards, all the way down to the East End of Sunderland. You’ll soon reach a small venue known as The Clarendon. The Clarendon lays claim to be the single oldest continually operating pub in Sunderland City Centre. Once known as “The Butcher’s Arms” this bar pinpoints its origin back to 1724, making it part of the old original Sunderland settlement before it expanded eastwards.
5) The Welcome Tavern (1915)
After the Clarendon, continue your walk along High Street Eastwards until you reach the Old Town Moor. Here, you will find the Welcome Tavern, a quiet and peaceful venue. Assuming its current form in 1915, the welcome tavern stakes a much longer history with a pub having been on the site since as early as the 1600s, with notorious highwayman Robert Drummond having made it his favourite watering hole. So whilst not technically the “oldest” continuously, its tradition may nonetheless well be and that makes it a prime spot to visit and conclude our city centre pub crawl!