Mother Mercy, an acclaimed and award-winning cocktail bar founded in Newcastle upon Tyne, is set to launch its first venue in Sunderland, becoming the latest operator to open at Sheepfolds Stables. This announcement marks the launch of the company’s fourth venue, bringing world-class cocktails to Wearside and the city’s newest and most anticipated hotspot destination.

Mother Mercy, recognized as a top 50 cocktail bar in the UK and named one of the top UK cocktail bars by The Times, joins a mix of other leading businesses at the new multi-million-pound social and leisure development due to open this summer.

The expansion further strengthens Mother Mercy’s hospitality portfolio, which includes its original venue in Newcastle’s Cloth Market, its Fenwick venue known for its popular ‘cocktails and cake’ afternoon tea, and its Mediterranean cocktail bar, Café Mercy, located on Newcastle’s Grey Street.


The business, co-founded in 2019 by Neil Donachie and Luke Comer, is expanding to Sunderland as part of ambitious growth plans. The latest bar will open in one of two specially built ‘cabin’ buildings overlooking the main courtyard at the historic Grade II listed development.

New jobs will be created by Mother Mercy in Sunderland, including full and part-time roles, to deliver an exceptional destination bar. The venue is expected to become a popular choice at Sheepfolds Stables for date nights and private parties.

Mother Mercy is one of eight independent food, drink, and hospitality operators to be located at Sheepfolds Stables. Co-founder Neil Donachie commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to be launching our fourth Mother Mercy at Sheepfolds Stables. Our imaginative menu of creative cocktails, seasonal influences, and classic drinks will bring a vibrant, premium experience to Wearside.

“Sunderland is a city with significant history and culture that is seeing major investment and regeneration. With our successful track record in the cocktail and hospitality scene, we’re looking forward to becoming part of this culture, and we’re confident that Mother Mercy will quickly become a favourite for locals and visitors alike. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to join us in this exciting new chapter and to experience Mother Mercy for themselves.”

Sheepfolds Stables, built in 1884, has been sympathetically restored and reimagined by leading architecture and engineering firm, Building Design Northern Ltd, to become a modern and vibrant food, drink, events, and entertainment venue. The company, with its HQ in Sunderland, has invested more than £4m in the development, which is due to open this summer.

Mother Mercy’s new bar has been designed and constructed to reflect how the buildings once looked over 140 years ago. It will now join an eclectic mix of independent operators including The Calabash Tree, I Scream for Pizza, Vito’s Osteria, Ember, and whisky and cigar lounge, Spey Snug, as well as the multi award-winning Southpaw Dance Company.

Rick Marsden, Managing Director of Building Design Northern Ltd (BDN), commented: “Sheepfolds Stables boasts an enviable line up of eateries, bars, and studio spaces, so we are delighted that Mother Mercy has joined the fold and chosen Wearside, and our development, as its next expansion location. This is an incredibly unique site with high calibre operators, so we welcome them onboard, and others too very shortly.”

Sheepfolds Stables is part of Riverside Sunderland, a major multi-million-pound regeneration and investment programme currently being delivered by Sunderland City Council. It is creating a new urban quarter in the heart of the city centre with a high-quality business district, new-build housing schemes, public realm spaces, and open parkland.

Peter McIntyre, Executive Director of City Development at Sunderland City Council, added: “Sunderland has a very clear vision and ambition, and developments like Sheepfolds Stables are integral to delivering continued growth, jobs, and driving forward new investment. We are very much looking forward as a city that is delivering change and making a name as a highly attractive place to do business. We’re therefore delighted to welcome companies like Mother Mercy to Wearside.”