A few Saturdays ago Mr NN and I were part of a charabang up to Newcastle to sample the delights of the quayside pub scene. By the way, when you read me talking about Mr NN he is my ‘Other Half’.
I mustn’t confuse you in to thinking it’s Declan who is the other half of Northern Niche. He is my son, Dex – only I can call him Dex! Phew! Glad we’ve got that out of the way although I didn’t actually think anyone was confused but it was pointed out to me so hey — go with the flow.
The dozen or so friends we were with are all craft beer lovers and I’m not so this was going to be fun. Not for us the champagne and cocktail bars of this fine city. No … we were heading for the establishments that would once have been described as spit and sawdust stop offs. Don’t let this deter you though… you are getting secret, inside information here. The pubs on this trail are some of the finest if you pine for an above average selection of amber, golden and copper nectars.
We set off at 11.30am — worrying early for people who don’t know how to drink. Oh sorry I forgot — that’s only me. First stop just off after our hour long journey was RedHouse on Newcastle’s vibrant quayside. They describe themselves as offering ‘great food, great beer and banter’. We were the only ones with the banter at this time of the day though but the banter was already sounding on form. Everyone was ordering trendy sounding drinks like Shoreditch Blonde and Horny Devil. I sipped a few but they aren’t for me so went with my old faithful when in doubt — a good old pint of Guinness. Our bartender pulled it perfectly. It was lush.
That pint set the tone of the day for me. I’m not really a big drinker but once I get started on Guinness I take some stopping. My Irish relatives can vouch for this!
Next stop was the Crown Posada up on The Side. I’ve got to say that this is one of the quaintest pubs I’ve ever been in. It’s the second oldest in the city and is a grade 2 listed building and I can totally see why. Traditional Victorian panelling and the cutest snug but best of all those stained glass windows — and some! They are beyond amazing.
We hogged the snug and had a pub quiz. Yes our very own pub quiz prepared by our great friends, Steph and Alison. What gals! Two drinks in we were all getting very competitive!
Next up was the Newcastle Arms. We were feeling rather peckish by now and decided to order food. We all chose a varied selection from the menu and the general concensus was that everyone was very happy with what they ordered. No photos of food but I did get a rather nice one of some of us — not everyone sadly.
Round the corner at The Broad Chare was next. Another great venue. Once again they were all sampling their beers before ordering. It’s a bit like being a twitcher or train spotter. They really know their stuff – like when you taste wine and swirl around your mouth only these guys never spit… ahem. The attention to detail about how much they know about beer is quite awesome. There’s me still on my Guinness. Mr NN is only learning to be a pale ale expert but he really was trying very hard as I’m sure you can imagine. 10/10 for best pupil.
The following part of our beer trail lead us to a pub called The Tanners Arms which touts itself as the ‘Gateway to the Ouseburn’. Very traditional, basic and down to earth. Drinks in and we started the second half of our pub quiz. At this point there was a lot of light hearted banter and accusations of cheating. What a great idea though compiling your own pub quiz. I highly recommend it if you are doing something like this and there’s a crowd of you. It’s such great fun.
My photos and memory start to diminish at this point. I’m not used to day time drinking and so I decided to pace myself by hitting the soft drinks!
We had a few more destinations on the list for the Ouseburn part of the crawl that was very kindly and well put together by our friend, Martin. We stopped by The Ship, The Tyne Bar and finally at The Cumberland Arms. We caught the tail end of what had been a beer festival day so we sat outside and felt obliged to have some more drink and some more food. There was a pop up burger stall whose name I didn’t get but for those of us who tried them the vote was that they were exceedingly good.
We also managed a quick pint with our youngest son, Patrick. He’s studying Computer Science at Northumbria University and he managed to squeeze time in his busy social schedule to meet up with us for half an hour at The Tanners Arms. It was great to see him albeit briefly.
Our carriage was awaiting us at 7.30pm to head back to Teesside. Weren’t we good? Not dirty stop outs us — although some of the gang did continue elsewhere once back home but Mr NN and I were all in. That’s what day time drinking can do to you — well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
We all had a fantastic day with a great age range of people from 19 to 60 so something for everyone.
Let me know if there’s any pubs we could add to our next crawl