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The Happy Wanderer in Framwellgate to Reopen in January Following A Major Revamp and Change of Name

Christmas has come early for the residents of Framwellgate…. Building work starts this week on a major £450,000 upgrade of The Happy Wanderer on Beech Road by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars1 and new licensees David Hobson & fiancée, Estelle McKee. The pub, which has been closed for over two years, is to reopen in early February as a top-quality family friendly neighbourhood pub with a new name – The Gate.

25 new jobs are being created on the back of the investment.

The revamp will see the pub given a more modern look and feel.  The interior is being opened up to make it more spacious with an open plan bar lounge and dining area created.  Timber floors and fires are being renovated and the pub redecorated with new warm timber clad walls, carpet and lighting and an eclectic mix of wooden furniture and deep button leather booth style seating. 


A new kitchen is being installed with an open pass to allow customers to see chefs cooking their meals.  There’ll also be a dessert area near the kitchen with a dedicated ice cream display fridge and cones.


The toilets are being upgraded and a new accessible loo installed together with an accessible ramp entrance to the pub to facilitate access for disabled customers. 

Outside, the tired looking pub is being given a complete facelift repainted in a smart grey with new lighting and signage.   A new terrace at the front is being created featuring a mix of timber and painted furniture, parasols and greenery.  The pub’s huge beer garden will have seating for 120, a children’s play area and a terrace with rustic planters and vintage string lights adding atmosphere.  Well behaved dogs will be welcome in the garden.

It is David and Estelle’s first pub.  Both have many years hospitality experience including roles as general managers for Tomahawk Steak House.  They are currently working at The Fox & Hounds in Neasham, near Darlington, owned by Estelle’s family.

Their plans for the pub include showing live sports, hosting regular live music, a weekly quiz and ‘drag bingo’ – bingo with a twist - as well as Fish Fridays, Fizz Fridays and other events.

Food at The Gate will be a major draw. There will be coffee and cakes from 10am in the morning and sandwiches and light bites at lunch.  In the evening there will be a choice of pub classics, a pie of the day, curry of the day and pasta dish of the day, hanging kebabs and a seafood sharing board and butcher’s board among other dishes.  The Teesside speciality, Chicken Parmesan (Parmo) will also be on the menu.  The highlight of the week will be a fantastic Sunday roast with all the trimmings.

Drinkswise, The Gate will offer two cask ales, and craft options – Beavertown Neck Oil and Beavertown Bones lager -as well as Birra Moretti, Inchs and Strongbow Dark Fruit.  There will also be an extensive gin range, cocktails of the week and a selection of prosecco, rose and red and white wines.

A Smart Dispense system, which produces consistent superior quality draught beer and cider whilst reducing waste, water and energy consumption is being installed as part of the refurbishment.


Says David: “Estelle and I are excited by the massive potential of The Gate and are looking forward to living at the pub and getting to know our neighbours and other local residents.  It’s a lovely area it just needs a great family friendly local where you can get a good home homecooked meal.  We want The Gate to become the social hub of the community where there is always something going on and everyone is welcome.”

Star Pubs & Bars Business Development Manager Paul Gilmore says: “We’re delighted to be investing in The Gate, helping David and Estelle to create somewhere the community can be proud of.  It needed the right licensees with the right vision to take it forward, which it now has.  With new housing being built nearby, there’s a real need for a pub of this calibre within walking distance.  I wish David and Estelle well and the Framwellgate residents many happy days ahead at their new pub.”