The only thing I don’t like about living in the North East is that I no longer share a postcode with my closest family and friends. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to persuade them to come and visit!
Last weekend four of my oldest and best friends travelled across the country for a big girl’s night out on the Toon! Expectations were high as I’d recently been boasting about some of the fabulous new bars and restaurants that had opened up, particularly around the central station area of Newcastle.
I did consider booking us a table for food at Hudson or perhaps French Quarter, both of which I’ve heard fantastic things about. However, the girls were quick to point out that on our last night out in Manchester we started the evening with a meal in a fancy restaurant and ended up so full that it seriously hindered our efforts on the dance floor. We did not want to make that mistake again! Instead, I made fajitas at home and we whacked on some disco music while getting dressed and were ready to hit our first cocktail bar at 7pm! This how the night unravelled…
I reserved a booth in the lobby bar at Hotel Indigo as I thought the laid back atmosphere would give us the chance to have a proper catch up before things got messy. We ordered a round of the new festive cocktails, ‘winter cosmopolitans’ and I think we were the first to try them as they took ages to prepare, they were definitely worth the wait though. The sweet, citrus and rather potent concoction was probably my favourite drink of the night!
Next door to Hotel Indigo is the beautiful Assembly Rooms, one of the grandest Georgian buildings in the heart of Newcastle! With a long history of entertaining party-goers, the Assembly Rooms is certainly an impressive venue and home to a luxurious bar and restaurant called Bonbar.
We enjoyed a bottle of bubbles here while the evening was still getting started. The vibe was quite laid back when we arrived but by the time we were leaving it had started to fill up with large groups of gorgeous girls in daring outfits and the tempo of the music had increased by a few notches, I got the impression it would turn quite lively later in the evening.
For the next stop on our Geordieland bar crawl we took a short five minute walk down the street to home of ‘cocktails and carbs’, The Laundrette. This cool new bar and restaurant is a new addition to Newcastle and after checking it out a few weeks ago with some fellow bloggers I knew I had to return with my best mates!
This Manchester born hang out is the perfect place to indulge in sharing boards, pizzas and burgers to line your tummy in preparation for yet more alcohol. We were still pretty full from my homemade fajitas but couldn’t resist a platter of chicken wings, polenta fried mushrooms and calamari, every mouthful was yum!
The cocktails are the star of the show here though, we enjoyed a round of the limited edition ‘Toon Tipple’ (which is a lot like an espresso martini) plus some quirkily named sharing cocktails. ‘Mrs McGregor’s Flower Bucket’ was definitely a highlight, it was made with vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh mint, pink clove cordial and lashings of prosecco, it went down a treat!
All the drinks were Instagram worthy and my friends commented on how much they loved the setting too, The Laundrette is definitely a perfect stop for groups on a night out in Newcastle!
Not wanting to walk too far in our heels, we made our next pit stop at Revolution which is next door to Laundrette at the end of Collingwood Street (which some people refer to as the Diamond strip but please don’t let that fool you!)
Revolution was absolutely heaving with stags, hens and birthday groups taking up each and every booth, getting served at the bar took quite a while. The toilets were just as busy and I did wonder if we should move on somewhere else but the classic 90’s/early 00’s RnB tunes being spin by the resident DJ persuaded me otherwise, we were about 18 when most of the songs hit the charts but we still knew all the words (and moves)!
We managed to grab a table in the VIP area (I think the VIP’s had just left as it was empty) so we had our own dance space and even a separate little bar so no queues! Hurrah! The music kept us dancing for hours and Revolution turned out to be surprisingly good, just be sure to get there early or reserve or booth if you’re going with a group!
Before we turned in for the night, I persuaded my friends to brave the cold and take the short walk from Collingwood Street to the Boiler Shop in Stephenson’s Quarter. I wanted to show them how much this awesome venue had changed since their last visit (see here for what it used to look like before cash was splashed on new toilets, walls and floors).
The Boiler Shop plays host to all kinds of cool and unusual events (remember my visit to the roller disco a few months ago?) and our night out just so happened to coincide with ‘Great Northern Soul Food’, a twelve hour celebration of sweet soul music alongside some of the North East’s finest street food. By the time we arrived most of the revellers were a bit worse for wear and the food vendors were packing up. However we did catch the last few songs of Terry Hall’s DJ set (lead singer of The Specials no less!) and as I danced away to Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and David Bowie, I was so happy that I was blissfully unaware of the blisters being created my new strappy sandals!
A great night was had by all and we cured our hangover’s the next day with bacon butties and a trip to Go Ape, but that’s a story for another day! Have you got a favourite bar in Newcastle? Have you been on a cocktail crawl around the central station area of town? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!