Fat Hippo, the North East restaurant group, are launching new music, bar and restaurant concept, Bonded Warehouse, in Sunderland.

The group has invested £250,000 converting a vacant 19th century Grade II-listed building on the city’s Fish Quay into a multi-functional venue.

Mike Phillips, Fat Hippo managing director, said: “We felt there was a real opportunity to invest in Sunderland, which is a huge market with a lot of untapped potential, and to be at the forefront of a leisure scene that we think will develop substantially over the next few years.

“The Bonded Warehouse is a destination venue that appeals to a wide range of different audiences at different times of the day and week, and we’ve had a really encouraging start since our official opening.”

The group is now considering locations for new venues under both of its brands.

Fat Hippo was founded in 2010 by Phillips, who opened the company’s first restaurant in Jesmond, followed by Newcastle and Durham.