Get ready to party!
If it’s good nightlife you’re after then Newcastle’s the place to head for, and as ALISTAIR LEITHEAD found out, there’s plenty on offer in the city’s pubs.
Ever since Newcastle was picked out by a Canadian magazine as the eighth top party city in the world its been doing its best to live up to expectations.
And with the Bigg Market one of the few places in the country to be heaving on a Monday night as well as every other, it would appear to be doing very well.
But there is far more to the watering holes of Newcastle than just wild party nights seven days a week. That may be the main lure of the Bigg Market, but there are plenty of other spots where you can enjoy a lively, peaceful or even downright sophisticated night out.
The Quayside has risen dramatically in popularity over the last few years with a number of new pubs opening up attracting a wonderfully mixed clientele. It’s lively most nights of the week, but has a real party atmosphere at weekends.
And as Quayside business developments have spread along the river, other new pubs have appeared, such as the Fog and Firkin and Jimmy Mac’s.
O’Neill’s is an Irish theme bar directly opposite the station, and a European-style Head of Steam is thriving a few yards down the road. At the bottom of Pink Lane is a new bar – the wacky Gotham Town – only a stone’s throw from the Forth Hotel and the Jazz Café. Up Northumberland Street to the Haymarket and things change again. This part of Newcastle, not surprisingly, is favoured by students because of it’s proximity to the two universities. Bar Oz is an Australian theme bar, Old Orleans boasts some excellent cocktails – and BieRRex is a popular spot with a huge range of European beers.
RAM JAM INN, Bigg Market
Part of the Grand old City Vaults pub, Ram Jams and its connected bar The City Vault is now a lively modern Bigg Market bar, with cheap promotions and designer lagers.
Sporting a beer-buying machine which will give you a round at full price, half price, free or two for the price of one, there isn’t really much to lose.
All you have to do is try and press the button on the bar while the lights are flashing on free. It sometimes works, it sometimes doesn’t, but it’s always fun trying and there are no penalty points.
The pub is a maze of floors and staircases and not an easy place to find a toilet and get back to your friends without getting badly lost.
The lunchtime trade is based around its food menu when customers can gather round one of its fires in the subdued, cosy light and escape from the bustle outside.
Its popularity really is reserved for evenings – specially at weekends – when it comes into its own.
A firm favourite on the Bigg Market reveller’s circuit.
ROSIE’S BAR, Stowell Street, Newcastle
Marking the start of China Town, Rosie’s has strong Irish connections without the tackiness of the bulk-made theme bars which have started appearing across the city.
It serves one of the best pints of Guinness in the city and has character, as well as a jukebox packed with Irish traditional tunes.
The huge window looks across the road to the Tyneside Irish centre and to St James’ Park. Rosie’s is quite a contrast to the Chinese restaurants which line Stowell Street, but is a good stop-off point for many people’s old favourite night-club – The Stage Door.
THE OLD GEORGE, Bigg Market, Newcastle
The Old George is one of the oldest pubs in the city, with connections going back to the 17th Century.
The décor reflects its age and it’s certainly a pub with plenty of character – pictures, wooden panels and a fantastic open fire.
Like many of the Bigg Market bars it is a pub of two identities – during the day it is a prime lunchtime spot for businessmen and after dark it joins the area’s fun pubs as a lively bar.
The lunchtime menu is excellent with good variety and plenty of fresh vegetables.
As a Bass pub the hand-pulled beer is always well looked after and there is usually a very good selection of guest real ales.
THE CROWN POSADA, Side, Quayside
Anything but a typical Quayside bar, this traditional real ale bar is a classic with character and an intimate atmosphere that is unparalleled in Newcastle.
Well-deserving of its pride of place in the Campaign for Real Ale’s annual Good Beer Guide, the Crown Posada is a unusually shaped long narrow bar which stretched back into the Side.
It’s on one level and boasts original stained glass windows facing the road leading down to the bustle of the Quayside.
The beer is always excellent and varied, with at least one of the North East’s own microbrewed beers guesting on its numerous hand-pull pumps.
BOB TROLLOP, Quayside
One of the true lively Quayside pubs and a great haunt for students and party animals.
One of the many 42nd Street Bars in the city, it offers the usual cheap deals on trip measures.
Connected to the Red House through a covered courtyard it is two pubs for the price of one. Bar meals are available throughout the day, and on week nights it is usually a good place to head for a quiet few after-work drinks.
On Friday and Saturday nights the bar is packed out and the separating courtyard becomes teaming with drinkers, whatever the weather.