Last weekend I dragged my long-suffering boyfriend round town for an afternoon of his least favourite hobby, shopping! Feeling a bit guilty, I made the hazardous suggestion of interspersing our shop visits with bar visits and before I knew it we were sipping our fourth cocktail of the day, oops!
Needless to say my head was a little bit fuzzy the next morning but I can remember enough to tell you that Newcastle has some fantastic new bars to add to its already great list of watering holes! This is where we ended up on our bar crawl…
Just round the corner from Primark at the top of Northumberland Street, City Tavern is the perfect pit stop for shoppers. It’s recently been transformed from a bit of a dingy pub in to a stylish venue with real character and a fantastic choice of food and drink. The decor is really sumptuous and the vibe is laid back and friendly, not pretentious at all. City Tavern is dog friendly too and even has a special menu for pampered pooches!
Dat Bar was formerly Pasquilinos, a lovely Italian bar/restaurant attached to Theatre Royal. It was one of my faves and I was sad to see it go but equally intrigued to see what it had become. The layout inside is pretty much the same as before but the decor is a lot more modern, it features bespoke artwork from talented North East folk giving the place a unique character all of it’s own.
As for the drinks, well, the De Giorgi family, (who have previously opened some of NewcastleGateshead’s best bars including Popolo and Alvinos) have pulled out the stops to offer something for everyone with a list of craft ales as long as your arm! There’s about 20 taps behind the bar, rotating over 50 types of ales and beers! The food looked pretty decent too, I was glad to see the sourdough pizza I used to love coming here for was still on the menu!
Just across the road on Grey Street, we saw groups of people heading for Harry’s Bar and eager to continue our discovery of Newcastle’s newest bars we followed the crowds to see what all the fuss was about. First impressions were great, the atmosphere was really relaxed and friendly with a slightly older crowd, I think my James was the only person under 30 other than the staff who were all quite young and rather beautiful. The female staff wear shirts emblazoned with the words ‘beautiful, intelligent, cute, talented, Harry’s girl’ (this deliberately spells out ‘Bitch’ which seemed a bit out of character for what appeared to such a stylish place to be honest).
I really fancied an Espresso Martini and was disappointed to see it wasn’t on the cocktail list but the bar staff happily offered to make me one anyway and it was perfect. So I’m giving Harry’s a thumbs up on the basis of excellent customer service!
I had a sneak peek of what Bonbar had to offer when I was there for a bloggers preview of NE1’s Newcastle Fashion Week a few weeks ago and I was keen to go back and sample the menu* as it looked fab. James ordered a burger and I opted for chicken with a side dish of an ‘onion flower’ – I had no idea what this was going to be or whether it would go with my dish but curiosity got the better of me and I’m pleased to say it tasted as good as it looked!
The bar area also impressed, I could have happily worked my way through the whole cocktail list but as evening approached and people started to arrive in their glad-rags, I felt a bit under-dressed. I got the distinct impression that Bonbar is where the glamorous, party loving people of Newcastle come to show off their latest designer threads on a night out. I’ll definitely make a return visit but I’ll make sure my heels and my hair are both a lot bigger next time!
(*Our food at Bonbar was complimentary)
Have you tried any of the new bars, pubs or restaurants in Geordieland, what did you think? Where should I go next? Do you know about any others opening soon? Keep me posted people!
By Rachel Kershaw