The popular coastal café, bar and venue, Surf Café is set to reopen following the current UK Lockdown, with plans for a grand opening event firmly in motion.
The leading North East promoter, SSD concerts, directed by Steve Davis, has added the venue to its portfolio and has wasted no time in recruiting former Surf Café manager and fellow North Shields native Richy Southern to its ranks.
Renowned for hosting local hero Sam Fender in the early stages of his career and voted Best Independent Venue by Chronicle readers, Surf Café sadly had to close its doors earlier this year.
Following a recent renovation, however, the much-loved hang out spot will be returning with a new look, layout and vision.
It will now re-open fully this summer and will be taking take away orders soon, operating a covid-respecting queuing system, where the public can place their food orders outside of the venue.
Boasting a stylish rustic design, with exposed brickwork and original wooden beams, the café and bar will have six keg and three cask lines featuring some of the best craft beers from the region and further afield, along with a new state-of-the-art coffee machine, which will serve up freshly ground award-winning Tynemouth Coffee. Its recently appointed Head Chef, John Nellist – Previously of Lola Jean’s, Butterfly Cabinet, Longhorns and The Cluny – will also be injecting fresh ideas and will unveil a new breakfast and lunch menu.
Speaking about his return to the Grand Parade venue, Surf Café manager Richy Southern said: “Having been away from Surf Café for a couple of years, I came to appreciate why the place meant so much to so many people.
“There’s nothing like it on the coast so it was impossible to not feel inspired by it. It was sort of like meeting up with an old flame and realising there was still a connection there.
“Anyone who has worked at the Surf Café will testify to it never really feeling like a “job”. Customers became our friends and it made it very easy to channel the mutual enthusiasm we had for one another and turn it into something special.
“I’ve missed that feeling of community and the opportunity to have that again was too good to miss”.
With the help of SSD Managing Director, Steve Davis, the new Surf Café will revive its reputation as one of the best small independent music venues for up and coming national and international acts.
The venue will be sticking to its roots with the continuation of its popular Wednesday Buskers evening with JD O’Neill and the Surf Café Sunday music nights with Phil Mitchell. The interior design will have nods to local artists who have played their part in the venue’s legacy.
Speaking on his partnership with Steve Davis, Southern continues: “Steve has been a breath of fresh air. He’s an eternal optimist and nothing phases him. Even during this unprecedented time of uncertainty, Steve remains upbeat and hopeful.
“Steve deserves enormous credit for the impact he’s had on the North East music scene. He’s overseen several hugely successful festivals and brought a number of huge acts to the region. There’s no better person than Steve to help restore the Surf Café to the hearts of the people.
“I was blown away by the new look. Steve has really honoured the heritage and spirit of the old Surf Café but it’s fresh and cool and is still very much the cafe that everyone knew and loved.”
Steve Davis, who was born in North Tyneside and was a massive fan and advocate of the original café, was quick to scoop up the venue after it was made available for purchase in early 2020.
Reacting to the recent acquisition, Steve Davis, added: “We are delighted to be the new owners of Surf Café. Especially because I’m from North Shields and when I was growing up, I would never have dreamt that live music could have been on my doorstep. It was always something we had to go to Newcastle for.
“Then, becoming a promoter and growing in stature as SSD Concerts, we started promoting shows in the venue. Although it has a relatively small capacity, a lot of my favourite shows have been in that building, we have promoted Tom Walker, Amazons, Lisbon and several other acts that have gone on to be huge.
“The venue has also had a big part to play in the lives of Sam Fender, L Devine and Brooke Bentham, all who have gone on to do the region proud globally.”
“The most exciting thing about reopening the venue will be the calibre of acts we can attract to the coast now we have a vested interest in the project. Working with Richy on this will be a perfect partnership and there’s no better man for the job. He understands what the Surf Cafe is all about and what it means to people. He has been immediately reinstated and will be the man to oversee and guide day to day operations. ”
Due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the opening date of the venue is yet to be confirmed, however, plans for a special grand opening event are in the progress and are set to include live music, food and special appearances from the artists that contributed to Surf Café’s reputation as one of the North East’s essential music venues.