Monday, December 10, 2012


A and I have talked for ages about visiting Newcastle, and it happens that P is from there, so we finally got our act together and planned a weekend trip to coincide with one of P's visits home. We certainly lucked out and got one of the sunniest balmiest weekends of August 2012. It's always much easier to enjoy a place when it's aglow with warmth and sunshine, so I don't know if I would've appreciated Newcastle as much without the fortuitous weather, but who cares? We had a great time.

Centurion Bar
Grand Central Station
Neville Street
Newcastle upon Tyne

First stop upon arrival was the Centurion Bar, a pub set up in what was formerly the first class lounge in the train station. The interior is stunning, and a good collection of real ales meant that A was happy to try some halves while P and I arranged a meet up spot. Our first drink downed, we then wandered off to try some of the other pubs on A's list.

42-48 High Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne

Bacchus was a recommendation that A got from someone (or maybe just from the Good Beer Guide). Again, really nice atmosphere inside, with an even wider range of real ales than the Centurion, so we settled in for a bit. I had a ginger ale from Marble Brewery that I liked (though I always think the ginger flavor could be even more pronounced - maybe because what I really want is a fiery ginger beer).

Brewdog Newcastle
16 Dean Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne

No beer crawl list would be complete without a stop at Brewdog - the paddle above shows a range of their beers from light to dark. I have a particular fondness for their Dogma, which is dark and sweet yet still light enough to have before dinner. If it's after dinner, then I'm having Tokyo, which amps up the darkness and sweetness to the point of being what I think of as a dessert beer.

Simla Tandoori
39 Side
Newcastle upon Tyne

I realize this makes me a terrible food blogger, but I didn't take a picture of dinner. Let's blame it on the Brewdog beers. Since I am also ridiculously behind in writing this up, I can barely remember what we had, but I'm pretty sure it involved some tandoori chicken, and possibly saag aloo since I always order saag aloo. It was a small meal, as we were pretty full from beer and were meeting up with P afterwards for more drinks, but it was really pleasant inside and the waiter was really nice about the fact we wanted very little food - it came quickly and I certainly ate all of it so no objections here.

Once we met up with P, we continued on for cocktails at Popolo (they were ok, but nothing that special), cocktails on the balcony of a restaurant called Paradiso next to a venue with a pounding rooftop bar, and ended up at my favorite bar of the night, Tokyo - we sat in a stunning rooftop garden and enjoyed some really special drinks. I'd assumed Friday night in the city center would be a bit insane, but instead it seemed to be really calm everywhere. P assured me that this was due to it being summer holidays so all the students were gone, which apparently makes a huge different in the way Newcastle feels since the university is so big.

Willi's Coffee House
23-25, Clayton Rd
Newcastle upon Tyne

Obviously after the long list of drinking establishments we visited on Friday night, the first priority Saturday morning was to find a hearty brunch place. I had a ridiculously large omelet at Willi's (but will confess I was pretty jealous of A's choice of a "wimpy" English breakfast which included some damn good bacon.

Properly fueled up, we hopped on the metro to Tynemouth. It's pretty incredible to have such gorgeous beaches only 20 minutes away (and linked to the city centre by public transport).

Bill's Fish Bar
4a Victoria Crescent
NE30 4PN

Of course, a trip to the beach isn't complete without fish and chips. Seeing the crowded line at Bill's, we joined the queue and were soon sat on a hill overlooking the harbor, happily munching away. We happened to be there during the Cullercoats harbor fair - there were rescue demonstrations (which we saw from afar, not realizing they were demonstrations, so were befuddled for a while as to why you would pick someone out of the water, then lower them back in, and do this repeatedly).

Byker Vista Cafe @ The Biscuit Factory
Newcastle upon Tyne

Once we'd had enough sea air and freshness, we headed back to Newcastle and ended up at The Biscuit Factory to have a nose around at the art. There were some incredible wire sculptures of Olympic sports, and then we stumbled upon the cafe and terrace, which had a table in the sun just calling out our names. A bottle of prosecco later, we were all grinning and basking in the beam of light, hoping for a tan.

Mr. Lynch
As You Like It
Archbold Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne

To cap off a lovely Saturday, we grabbed P's sister and headed off to Mr. Lynch for some pre-dinner cocktails - the interior is all decked out in 50's furniture and wallpaper. Next to Mr. Lynch is a wonderful restaurant called As You Like It, where we proceeded to demolish an incredible baked Camembert to start, and then I had Korean chicken wings which I adored. Definitely worth a trip to the Jesmond neighborhood.

Cafe Royal
8 Nelson Street

For our last meal in Newcastle on Sunday morning, I looked up brunch recommendations on my phone and came across Cafe Royal, which wasn't too far from the train station. My eggs benedict with smoked salmon was perfect - amazing runny yolk in the poached egg, a bright yellow hollandaise that tasted like the best butter and lemons, and two toasted English muffin halves, with a lovely sprig of dill on top. A and I talked about how enjoyable the weekend was and how we really need to get north more often - scenery! food! drinks! affordability! Newcastle for the win!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great. But next time I recommend Hei Hei on Dean Street. The opportunity to consume its braised auberguine is the reason we drive between Scotland and London. Virtually opposite is the Crown Posada, an old fashioned boozer with a snug and great ales.