• Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

North East Connected

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The Open Jar open for business at Hartlepool marina

The owner of The Open Jar, one of three new night spots on Hartlepool Marina, has revealed that he leased the 2,400 sq ft unit after popping out for lunch.

Joe Franks, who has run the Station Hotel in Billingham for 18 months, is now the proud owner of one of a number of impressive bar-restaurants to have opened along the night-time magnet that is Navigation Point.

Property developer Mandale Group is now looking for more entrepreneurs to take its vacant units at the Marina after the launch of The Open Jar and neighbouring bars, Hello Goodbye and Oh This Is Us!

It’s boom time again for a former regeneration zone that nearly 30 years ago saw Mandale convert 75 acres of wasteland into a multi-award winning visitor destination.

The Open Jar owner Joe said: “After visiting one of the local restaurants, I was taking a walk around the marina when I spotted the ‘To let’ sign and thought it looked a potentially nice place.

“I called the number for Mandale Properties on the notice and Joe Darragh came down to meet me half an hour later. He showed us around, we went through some numbers and I agreed to take it on there and then!”

Previously home to a champagne bar, The Open Jar offers a combination of food by day and drinks by night.

Joe explained: “While we offer a nice range of cocktails, wines and premium beers, we’re mainly food-led, focusing on a high end menu. We’re also the only restaurant on the Marina serving fresh fish dishes such as bass and haddock.”

But their best seller so far has been Teesside’s favourite dish, the chicken parmesan. “We’re confident we do the best one in Hartlepool,” says Joe.

Now, having spent £45,000 on a two-month refit that included installing a kitchen and the creation of handmade tables from old railway sleepers, Joe is confident they’re in the right place.

“The Marina is definitely up and coming,” he says. “People come here looking for a high-quality experience and they get a real variety.”

The Marina is home to nearly 500 boats and yachts and a playground for those who love messing about on the water.

Navigation Point is the established entertainment quarter, boasting over 20 restaurants, cafes and bars – the highest concentration of night-life in Hartlepool, offering cuisine’s from around the world.

Mandale recently completed work on several refurbished commercial units within Navigation Point, investing around £100,000 on each unit to provide high-quality air conditioning, lighting systems, kitchen areas and external seating areas.

Along with The Open Jar, two further units have recently opened for business.

Owners of Navigation Point’s existing café wine bar, How Do You Do?, agreed a long-term lease of a 2,000 sq ft unit for a new bar and bistro, called Oh This is Us.

Open during the day as a welcoming café and bistro, by night Oh This Is Us! transforms into a quirky gin bar, doubling the 12 jobs owner Lyndsay Kelly had already created at How Do You Do?

And prosecco bar, Hello Goodbye, is the gin bar’s new next door neighbour, while a high quality restaurant, Hunter’s, will open in the New Year after a further unit was leased by chef Jack Hunter.

However, two further units remain available for immediate lease or sale as part of a £500,000 project that has seen Mandale transform the former headquarters of civil engineering firm Seymour’s, who have moved to purpose-built offices at the nearby Mandale House.

Joe Darragh, head of property development for the Mandale Group, believes the remaining units of various sizes would be ideal locations for a micro bar, restaurant, takeaway, bakery, sandwich shop, amusements, office or betting shop.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for a new commercial venture right at the centre of Hartlepool Marina, one of the North-East’s key tourist attractions,” says Darragh.

“The 21 existing units within Navigation Point already combine high quality cuisine and a bustling night life.

“The Marina is becoming a destination venue, so this is a rare opportunity to become part of a successful commercial zone.

“We’ve carefully refurbished each new unit to an extremely high standard to enable businesses to move in with a minimum cost and time.”

  • For more details about the vacant units at Navigation Point or to arrange a viewing, contact Joe Darragh at Mandale on 07973 908599 or email joe@mandale.com.