A team ethic forged on the football field has helped a South Shields man to land the manager’s job at the town’s newest sports bar and restaurant.

Chris Hunter has taken charge of Bar 52 and Latin American diner – Loca – which opened to the public on Friday April 12th at the Sea Hotel.

A keen local league player, Chris, 31 and from South Shields, met Gary Forrest – the Chairman of the High Street Group of Companies, which bought the hotel for £1 million last year – through football seven years ago.

Working in the call centre of what was initially a financial claims operation, he has remained with the business ever since, proving a versatile team player and fulfilling a number of positions as the company diversified into property development and hospitality – becoming a £1 billion business.

Commenting on his latest role, Chris said:  “I am delighted to have been given this opportunity in my home town.  I am sure the local community will enjoy what we are bringing to the leisure and hospitality scene in Shields.”

Bar 52 will be screening sports offerings from around the world while serving a wide range of drinks and food, with entertainment including pool tables, dart boards, quiz nights and open mic nights.  Loca brings its own twist to spicy Latin cuisine – a new departure in the town.

The openings bring a four month, £1.5 million refurbishment project at the Sea Hotel to completion.  It now joins other hotels in Eaglescliffe, Stanley and Whitley Bay that are part of High Street Hospitality.

High Street Residential is currently working on string of developments in major UK cities.  These projects have a gross development value of over £1bn and would create more than 3,000 apartments for private rent.  The flagship scheme – Hadrian’s Tower – will become Newcastle’s tallest building.

Meanwhile the company’s construction division is developing new homes for sale on sites throughout the north of England and in Scotland.

With its headquarters in Stockbridge House, Newcastle, The High Street Group of Companies was established by successful entrepreneur Gary Forrest in 2006.  It has grown to become a leading financial and property group employing over 230 people in activities including large scale property development, construction, hospitality and leisure.

*Picture caption:  Chris (left) with Gary Forrest*