The Muddler joins Keel Square line-up

13 November 2023

A POPULAR North East restaurant has announced plans to open a venue in Sunderland.

The Muddler, a pan-Asian restaurant and cocktail bar that is famed for its tasty dishes and unique cocktails, will open in Keel Square next year, having signed up to space in premises on the ground floor of the new Holiday Inn. 

The business will join neighbouring venues The Botanist and Keel Tavern – both of which are also set to open in Riverside Sunderland - later this year, adding to the ever-expanding array of city centre bars and restaurants moving into the heart of Sunderland.

The Muddler serves a range of Eastern inspired small and large plates, as well as a selection of sushi dishes, and an extensive menu of drinks that has established the Newcastle restaurant as a popular lunch, pre-theatre and evening destination. The business hopes to replicate the success it has seen on Grey Street when it opens in Sunderland.

Neill Winch, chief executive at Danieli Group – the company behind The Muddler – said: “We’re really excited to be launching The Mudder in Sunderland, a place we know well having spent the last few years establishing STACK in Seaburn, a venue that has proven to be phenomenally popular. 

“The city centre in Sunderland is going through an amazing transformation, with more venues opening their doors to welcome people by day and night. Positioned on the doorstep of the Empire, as well as the city’s Auditorium, we are at the heart of a regenerating part of the city centre that is becoming an established place of work and play.

“It’s brilliant to join an increasingly exciting line-up of venues that are each bringing their unique offer to the city.”

Subject to planning and licensing being approved, the unit will be transformed into a stunning venue  with a luxurious and welcoming feel where customer can enjoy a meal in the gold adorned restaurant area or just enjoy drinks in the cocktail bar.

Councillor Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member for Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re thrilled that The Muddler will be joining the fantastic line-up of venues in the transforming Riverside Sunderland, adding to the city’s offer for residents and visitors.

“The transformation of Riverside Sunderland is creating new places to live, work and play, and we know there has been growing excitement about the fantastic venues that will be serving up more choice by day and evening.  The Muddler’s announcement will add to that.”

The deal to bring The Muddler to Sunderland city centre – overseen by Square One Law - was brokered by North East commercial property experts Bradley Hall.  Neil Hart, group CEO at the firm which has a base in Sunderland city centre, said: “We’re thrilled to have played a key role in bringing The Muddler to Keel Square.

“Sunderland’s transformation is gathering pace, and securing another high-quality leisure operator to open its doors in the city will support the daytime and evening economy, bringing residents and visitors into the city centre.”

The Keel Square hotel is one of a number of developments complete that forms part of Sunderland City Council’s Riverside Sunderland delivery plan.  Backed by millions of pounds of investment, the plan includes number of large-scale developments in the city centre, including the development of Maker & Faber, two new Grade A office spaces; the Sheepfolds Stables leisure development; and a new housing scheme on the former Vaux Brewery site.  The ambition is to double the area’s residential population and increase employment by 50 per cent.