26 Silksworth Row,
The path to being a fantastic pub has been fraught.
The Ship Isis, was built in the late 19th century, it’s unusual name comes from its relationship with the nearby docks/shipbuilding, and an urban legend is that it was a favourite with smugglers and a secret tunnel runs from the pub down to the river.
I first popped in for a pint in 1996 and it was called Livingstone’s, if I recall correctly it was one large room with a large square bar in the middle it was very dark and very 90’s and looked nothing like the above picture.
Then a few years later it became the even more 90’s Purple Banana the only thing that changed was the ‘fun name’ in an attempt to attract the drinkers who did the vertical drinking circuit.
At some point, it closed and lay empty for what felt like forever.
I heard somewhere that Sunderland University owned it and surprisingly they didn’t sell it or demolished it
Enter the ill-fated Jarrow Brewery who was on a roll of producing popular beers, renovating pubs, expanding into the US and avoiding tax.
Jarrow obtained the property and refurbed it into this 2 roomed wood-panelled masterpiece of a pub with open fires, good beers and a rabbit warren layout.
Then Jarrow Brewery went tits up something to do with ‘cash flow’ so the Isis, The Robin Hood, The Maltings and the brewery were all sold.
The Isis was bought by Cameron’s and chugged along happily for a few years. Recently Camerons put it up for sale and it was threatened with closure.. thankfully a local businessman stepped in to rescue it and is still a going concern
The bar is split into 2 rooms, as you walk in through the main entrance if you turn right, you head to the Bar area, which boasts plush seating in cosy surroundings, if you decide to turn left there is, what can best be described as, a lounge, again it looks like it has been there forever, with a warming fire and comfy seating it’s a good place to listen to locals lament Sunderland’s latest loss.
It’s a great pub and has quickly become one of my favourite pubs in Sunderland alongside the likes of The Dun Cow, The museum Vaults and The Kings Arms, and it’s easy to see why, a traditional looking pub with an impressive exterior steeped in local history and folklore. Coupled with good beer, friendly and knowledgeable staff and welcoming regulars, you could do worse than wile away an afternoon supping pints and chatting to the locals