Ever notice that the North East seems to have lots of places that are similarly named simply just to cause confusion? I was quite excited when I knew there was a Simonside on the metro line. I’d been wanting to climb up that big hill for ages. Imagine my disappointment when we alighted the train only to find a massive housing estate? Not for the first time I’ve fallen fowl of my basic grasp on geography!
Simonside station is relatively new having only opened in 2008, much to the disgust of many local residents who worried it would raise crime and thoroughfare in the area. None the less I’m sure Simonside residents are appeased with the fact that with great power comes great responsibility and where there’s a metro station, there’s a pub within walking distance.
If you come out of the station onto Wenlock Road (if you’ve come from Tyne Dock then you’ll have to cross the tracks and turn left towards the roundabout. When you get to the bottom of the road turn right and you’ll see very soon Florence Bar & Bistro (formerly the Simonside Arms). And what a pleasant surprise this is.
We were there in the late afternoon of the Thursday between Christmas and New Year and it was relatively quiet,which could be down to the fact it was a Thursday or down to the fact it was between xmas and NY and most people were still eating their selection boxes in their pyjamas. It’s clearly a fairly new establishment and on first arrival we were unsure as to whether it was a restaurant, or a bar, or neither, or both.
Turns out it’s a bit of everything. Walk through the main doors and turn right to go to the restaurant or left for the bar. We weren’t eating on this occasion so took a seat in the bar, which is massive. The contemporary décor is set off nicely with lots of light wood, high tables and chairs (my mum would hate that) but also a few cosy sofas dotted around too (my mum would love that).
The drinks menu is contemporary too and offers on cocktails along with an impressive gin selection. Beer wise they have standard lagers as well as a few craft ales for the hipster bunch. Despite appearances and worries that prices would also be ‘contemporary’ we got 4 drinks for about £12 which doesn’t feel too shabby.
Because the pub is new it’s hard to tell what kind of shelf life it can offer but considering the only other option in the vicinity is the Cinder Path which is a Brewers-Fayre-by-numbers (and these kind of pubs makes my soul die a little inside each time I visit one) I hope Florence is able to stay afloat. The good people of Simonside have only just gotten over the metro station being built, they don’t this added to their woes too!
Find out where else we’ve been on out metro pubbing adventure here