I’ve been back living in Newcastle for over a year now, it was a bit of reverse culture shock after 6 months in Asia and 6 years in London. But once I got back into the swing of things I fell in love with this beautiful city all over again. I sometimes think it takes moving away for a while to really appreciate what you’ve got on your door step. Geordies are warm and friendly, the Quayside with its famous bridges and Grey street with its beautiful Georgian buildings can rival any UK city. But, the thing that us Geordies know how to do best is PAAAARTAAAAY!
The city boasts hundreds of bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants to suit all sorts of tastes. Which means it can seem a bit overwhelming when choosing where to go on a weekend away to party city. I often cringe hard when I hear where people went drinking around town on their mates’ hen do. Often based on the advice of someone they know who went to uni here 10+ years ago. The bar scene in Newcastle is fast moving and there are some fabulous new additions. So, if you’re heading to the Toon for the up-coming bank holidays, I’ve put together a handy list of some of the best bars in Newcastle, with something to appeal to everyone.
Yes, I know this is technically in Gateshead but as it sits under the Tyne Bridge and short stroll over the bridge from the Quayside I’m classing it as part of the Newcastle bar scene. Opening last summer, By The River Brew Co opened last summer and is part of the Wylam Brewery group of pubs. But far from being just another craft brew boozer, this is a shipping container village that boasts a street food market, a bike shop and cocktail bar and a live fire restaurant (Träkol) which the critic Jay Raynor dubbed his “new favourite restaurant in the country.” As well as all this there is loads of outside seating with stunning views of Newcastle and DJs spinning tunes from the outside decks all weekend. This has quickly become the number one spot for a sunny day out in the city.
Perfect for: The all-day summer sesh
Open till 11pm
Next to the law courts on the Quayside is one of my favorite gastro pubs in the city. If you’re looking for some of the best bar snacks you’ll ever taste (cod cheeks, scotch egg, pork crackling with apple sauce and more) to go with your drinks, then this is the place for you.
Perfect For: Foodies
Open till 11pm
One of Newcastle’s best kept secrets. This late-night cocktail bar hidden above the Grainger Market, is a quirky and kitch haven. This dimly lit bar is like stepping in to a secret garden party with bird cages and flower draped pagodas. They have DJs every night pumping out nu-disco, funk and house music until closing time, attracting a very lively crowd after midnight. And If you’re feeling peckish they have regular guest restaurant residencies. Current residents are El Nido Latin Kitchen, serving up Spanish inspired tapas.
Perfect for: clubbers who are too tight to pay into a club
Open till 3am
This bar on Pilgrim street is deceptively large. What looks like a tiny café bar sprawls out over 3 floors and opens up to an epic terrace on the top floor. Serving up funk, soul, nu disco with a spattering of techno Thursday to Saturday on the top floor bar and terrace this is a fab place to party with a group of mates. A mixed age and no scene queens, this place is down to earth and good fun. They also do the best espresso martini I’ve ever tasted. Yum!
Perfect for: fans of unpretentious bars
Open till 2am
Located in the Ouseburn Valley a short walk from the Quayside in what has been dubbed “The Shoreditch of Newcastle” this area is full of great bars, cafes and live music venues. You’re spoilt for choice among all the independent pubs and bars here, however you can’t go wrong with a pint at the Tyne bar. They serve a good range of guest ales as well as all the usual bevvies. But the big draw is their outside stage that hosts all kinds of bands from blues, funk, jazz, rock and more. Sundays and bank holidays are like mini festivals with crowds spilling out onto the river path enjoying the tunes and tucking into BBQ food. If it all gets a bit rowdy at the Tyne Bar, walk up the steps to the Free Trade for a pint of hand pulled cider and the most amazing views of the Tyne!
Perfect for: Sunday sessions
Open till 11pm
A favourite of mine for a glass of wine on a Friday night after work, I usually end up spending all night there, and they’re open till 4am at the weekends so you know…. messy. The current owners took over a traditional old pub and dragged it into the 21stcentury offering a huuuuge selection of beers and wines from around the world. It’s also the unofficial stage door pub, being directly opposite the Theatre Royal, so it’s often the boozer of choice for performers and crew from the latest show.
Perfect for: Pre/post show drinks & rubbing shoulders with theatre luvvies.
Open till 4am
A gin bar and restaurant based on increasingly hipster High Bridge Street. This place has hundreds of gins with a different mixer to pair perfectly to your choice of botanicals. This place is sophisticated, but relaxed. The staff are always happy to talk you through their different spirits and make suggestions, but equally as happy to pour you a pint if you prefer. If you prefer somewhere a bit more intimate there is a speakeasy style cocktail bar down stairs or if you’re in more of a party mood they’ve just relaunched their Garden Party sessions on the terrace out the back. This Easter they are celebrating their relaunch with a Hepple gin event: with specially created cocktails, DJs, a Rock oyster bar and BBQ.
Perfect for: Gin lovers
Open till 2am
An American style dive bar hidden underneath the Grainger Market. This place is pretty small, but has made a huge impact on the Newcastle bar scene and has been shortlisted for a Newcastle Loves award. Live music all weekend, open till 2am and always free entry. What’s not to love.
Perfect for: American craft beer and live music fans
Open till 2am
Hidden behind Perdu night club in an old Masonic Lodge (hence the name!) this is an oasis in the middle of party central! A very cool and intimate little bar who take their cocktails and spirits very seriously. A perfect place to escape the madness of the Bigg Market, or before heading into one of the clubs on the “Diamond Strip.”
Perfect for: Cocktail aficionados
Open till 11pm
A very new addition to the Newcastle bar scene having just been open a few weeks, but it’s already made a huge impact in the city centre, just nudging it into my best bars in Newcastle list. This is a huge venue spread over two floors near Greys Monument including: two huge bars, outside seating, booths and both casual and formal dining areas. This bar is an Instagram addicts dream: neon signs, flower swings, cocktail trees and more.
Perfect for: girls’ night out
Open till 12.30am
So, you see there really is something for everyone, and not a Wetherspoons in sight! Haha, we have those in Newcastle too though. I realise I’m going to get some hate calling these the “Best bars in Newcastle” we all have different opinions on what makes a great bar, but these are genuinely all my current faves. Do you have a fave that I’ve missed out?