New American sports bar coming to Newcastle after former fish restaurant is sold

A former upmarket fish restaurant in Newcastle city centre is poised to be transformed into a new sports bar and restaurant after being sold to new owners.

Nova Seafood & Grill, on High Bridge, has been sold to businessman Michael Grayson, who will turn the site into an American-style sports bar called Hen & Hops.

Mr Grayson said Hen & Hops will focus on good quality, fast food with a range of beers, with his cousin heading up the kitchen.

Once the Newcastle outlet has launched, the pair will also look to expand the brand in other locations across the North East.

He said: “We’ve been looking for the right site for our concept for a while and when Nova became available, we worked very hard to make sure we were the successful bidders. High Bridge is perfect for what we are looking to do –it’s already home to lots of successful, independent businesses and we want to add to that.

“We will be starting work immediately on turning the venue into an American-style sports bar called Hen & Hops, with a focus on chicken wings, hot sauces and craft beers & ciders.

“This is definitely a brand we are looking to roll out elsewhere and we’re already working with David Cash at Christie & Co to identify other possible locations for us.”

David Cash, director at Christie & Co who handled the sale, said: “High Bridge has been popular for some time now and with the improvement of the Bigg Market and Groat Market, the area has become even more desirable, so we knew the restaurant would prove popular when we went to market.

“There was interest from many local, independent operators who all saw an opportunity in a relatively small site in this prime location.

“It is reassuring that hospitality operators still see value in city centre sites, despite the challenging times we are in and with footfall in the city centre being depleted. We look forward to seeing Michael’s plans take form.

Entrepreneurs David and Penny Tilly had originallly opened Nova Seafood & Grill on High Bridge in 2018 as their very first leisure venture, having run the Care-ability Healthcare business for more than 20 years, and the restaurant soon attracted a loyal following.

However, they closed the restaurant last year after being given the chance to take on the old Guildhall on Newcastle Quayside, which they are currently transforming into the North East’s very first Hard Rock Cafe.