A brand new independent nestling down in Sunderland city centre, Proven People is a vibrant hangout, a place where people can bond over great food, share a few drinks and lose themselves in top-quality music from the brightest DJ talents come the weekend. 

Matthew Thomas checks in with the team behind this new venture on Burdon Road…


Tell us a little bit about yourself?


Inside the kitchens at Proven People, Sunderland


We are Elliot, Lee and Paul, three mates who had an idea for a bar that serves great pizza, good drinks and plays great music.


When did your passion for food begin?


Dining area, Proven People, Sunderland


I guess we all love good food. It was important to make a place where you can come for a bite to eat and a drink, or a relaxed meal with friends in a nice environment. 

We all have different tastes but equally we all love a great pizza in good company.


Has it always been a dream to combine your love of music with the hospitality world?


Enjoying a drink at Proven People, Sunderland


We chatted for ages about how we could open our own spot one day. 

I guess you could say we have matured in recent years and in doing so, realised the potential of a place that marries together the things we enjoy; music, food, good beer, natural wine and spending time with loved ones.


How did the inspiration for Proven People come about?


Proven People outdoor terrace


We had been looking at various buildings for sometime, trying to find somewhere we could see us making our own. 

When we found 1-2 Burdon Road, we instantly saw the potential and started adapting our ideas and vision specifically for this building.


Tell us about the work that has gone on at 1-2 Burdon Road…


Proven People, Burdon Road


We had to bring the place to life a bit, fix a few issues and put our stamp on it without ignoring the heritage of the building. 

We’ve future proofed the space with new electrics, as well as all new fittings and fixtures. 

There’s an all new decor, new additions to the kitchen, a whole new bar area, a great sound system that sounds unbelievable and a DJ booth with a full analog and digital set up so our DJs can play their records or more modern cuts in digital format through one of the best mixers in the world.

We have also shared our love of artwork with some heritage artwork from over the years and there’s three portraits of Grace Jones, Andrew Weatherall and Frankie Knuckles from a local artist to create hanging on the walls. 


What was the inspiration behind the colourful decor? Any particular themes or aesthetics that influenced you?



The most important thing is we didn’t want to be like anywhere else. Given that the huge windows at the front of the place make everything so bright, we needed lots of art and colour dotted about. 

I can’t imagine many people saying it looks like that bar over there or it’s similar to this bar in this town.

It’s been a joint effort with all of us having input on colour schemes, fittings, bar tops, tiles and so on. We hope people enjoy the space as much as we do.


Which dishes and menu highlights are you most excited about?




Leon, our head chef, has put together a great food offering and he’s covered all bases really. 

Whether you want a quick glass of wine and a New York pizza slice, or if you’re wanting a selection of small plates to share with a group of friends, there’s plenty to get involved with. 

There’s lunch specials for the local businesses’ lunch footfall and we even have a special stromboli which is unbelievable.

We have incorporated fantastic locally sourced seafood on our menu and it’s pleasing to see that our crab and chilli pizza has been a huge success. 

We are launching a breakfast offering soon and we’ll have daily specials too. It’s all happening!

Our drinks menu is equally as important. Our manager Jordan is well known around the North East for his prowess with cocktails and he has created us a bespoke drinks list with some exceptional cocktails. 

We have worked with natural wine specialists Kork in Whitley Bay to create a unique natural wine list that will change throughout the year.

On top of this, we have a great selection of lagers, beers and craft beers on draught and in the fridges too.


How has the local community responded to Proven People since opening in July?


Foodies enjoying pizza at Proven People


Honestly we have been a bit blown away with the support from the local community. 

The feedback on the food, drinks, service, decor, music and the overall vibe has been amazing. 

One particular customer said to us recently that they felt we had just been here forever like her local and she feels comfortable popping in for a coffee or a glass of wine.


What does the remainder of 2021 have in store for Proven People?


DJs play live music at Proven People


Welcoming lots of new and familiar faces through the doors. 

Loads of great food with locally sourced ingredients, evenings filled with natural wine, great cocktails, our DJs playing great music, our musicians jamming on Tuesday nights, and dancing with new friends until the early hours. 


Have you been to Proven People? Get in touch online. Twitter: @SunderlandVibe, Instagram: @SunderlandVibe, Facebook: @SunderlandVibe.

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