Joe Robertson News Article - Headlined New Routine for Bar Staff

New Routine for Bar Staff!

City’s new fun pub to serve up a surprise dance treat

Wine bar king Joe Robertson is the brains behind Newcastle’s newest fun pub featuring dance routines by bar staff.

The pub, formerly Bentleys basement bar, is to be called Yel and will open in the Cloth Market soon after a £350,000 facelift to turn it into one of the city’s top attractions.

Staff will break from serving behind the bar to entertain customers by dancing to pop music.

City councillors gave the venture the go ahead after an assurance from the management that there will be no dancing by customers and hearing that a police objection has been withdrawn.


Mr Robertson became a millionaire after opening then selling a string of trendy wine bars in Newcastle – and Yel is his latest venture.

Bentleys shut down as a night club in December 1989 after problems with violence and drugs.

At a court case following an horrific glass attack in Bentley’s – which left a 14-year-old girl facially scarred for life – a judge described the club as a “den of iniquity”.

Solicitor Austen Science, representing Mr Robertson’s company the City Leisure Group says that following a £350,000 refurbishment the premises will reopen under new management as a pub with a new and classier image.

Mr Science told councillors that staff will entertain with short dance routines to pop songs – the girls clad in leotards and the boys in cycle gear.


“There will be no suggestive actions and nothing obscene or offensive,” he told members of the public and environmental protection sub-committee. “It will be nearly all hand movements and the staff will do nothing to cause offence to the public.”

Mr Science said the pub will also feature guest entertainers such as mime artists, robotic dancers and magicians but he declared: “There will be no strip-tease.”

He added: “This is something new in Newcastle. It has appeared in other towns very successfully and my clients have long experience of providing entertainment in Newcastle through the City Leisure Group.”

Members backed a suggestion by Coun Norman Povey that they grant a provisional entertainment licence for six months.

Coun Don Price said “There is outrageous behaviour in a number of pubs throughout the North-East – I am not saying Newcastle – and it is clearly something that will have to be monitored by officers of this committee.”

Joe Robertson News Article - Headlined Geordie with the Midas touch

Geordie with Midas touch

His exam passes wouldn’t fill the back of a postage stamp, but he did learn that there was cash to the made out of writing other pupils’ lines for them.

Not exactly the Midas Touch, but an early understanding of the lucrative law of supply and demand at Blaydon Grammar School.

Joe Robertson, the man who made a million – and then several more – out of setting up a string of wine bars in the heartland of beer country, knows how to cash in on changing tastes.

His unusually high profile gives the impression that he is one of just a handful of millionaires on Tyneside, along with the likes of John Hall.

In truth, when you consider the region’s many thriving businesses, you realise that Joe Robertson is a member of quite a large club of millionaires.

Because of the nature of his leisure empire, however, he realised some time ago that nothing breeds success quite like success.


People like winners, not losers, so Joe Robertson flaunts the trappings – such as his all-white Mercedes with the registration JOE 5 (which deliberately looks like JOE’S), his yacht, his Cote D’Azure villa, and so on.

A far cry from the days when, as a 17-year-old assistant in a Newcastle accountant’s office he earned £3.50 a week, and boosted that paltry sum by working as a disc jockey in the jazz lounge of the Club a GoGo for 50p a night.

He worked as a galley slave (steward) on a ship, managed a pop band and earned a fortune for a time with a business specialising in the production and sale of decorative mirrors of the music hall type.

His shop for this venture was Dead Flowers, in Newcastle’s Shakespeare Street, not far from the city’s Cloth Market, where Pumphrey’s Coffee Shop was to become his first of many wine bars.

They came in batches; the first lot including City Vaults, Ricks, Sloanes, Legends and Brahms and Liszt.

He sold these in 1984 to a brewery chain for £2.3m, took a four month holiday and concluded: “There’s only so much lazing around you can do.”

So he promptly set about creating his second empire, resulting in another batch of wine bars – Maceys, Masters and Berlins.

He sold them to a leisure group for about £6m, give or take a few hundred thousand, and concentrated on his several pubs in London, and ambitious plans for his Newcastle Quayside hotel development.