Since starting the blog I’ve always been looking for new and interesting things to write about. A lot of the local stuff I’ve done like the Newcastle upon Tyne walking tour and Ouseburn pub crawl have both done consistently well and I enjoy creating content that people find useful.
Back in 2013 someone actually started a metro pub guide called the Tyne and Beer Metro and started off visiting pubs along the top end of the airport line. They hadn’t updated in almost 3 years by the time I got round to thinking it would be something that the people of the north east could really use and enjoy so I contacted them asking if they would mind me taking over the baton.
No one ever responded and in fact the original site doesn’t exist anymore so whilst I never claimed it was my original idea, it was something I was keen to see through to the end and do something that hadn’t been done before.
We live a stone’s throw from Bank Foot metro and are in and out of Newcastle city centre almost on a weekly basis so airport to central station was relatively easy. It was going further afield that was going to be more challenging. However were lucky to have friends who live out at the coast and down Sunderland way who we roped in to help us out. Funnily enough suggesting a pub crawl on a random Saturday afternoon didn’t usually leave us without any willing volunteers of help.
We did our research when and where we could and we tried to visit multiple pubs in one day get best use out of it metro tickets (the most pubs we visited in one day was 9 – fact fans!) And usually limited ourselves to a half in each place. The metro app also came in handy to avoid waiting round on platforms too long.
So how did I find the whole experience? I learnt a lot. I now know all about the Branding Railway, which is what most of the network is built upon. I know what an island platform is and which stations have them. The date 11 August 1980 will be forever etched on my brain as the day the metro started operating. And I learnt that on a whole, the people of the north east are a warm and friendly bunch.
It was never my intention to be overly critical of anywhere we visited. That’s not really the point of the guide, the idea was and will always be to say factually and geographically which pubs are closest to which stations and what type of pub you’re likely to find. I made clear which pubs I loved and which ones I’d not be too jazzed about being in at 10pm on a Saturday night but I can honestly say, hand on heart that I never felt unsafe or unwelcome in any of the 60 pubs we visited.
Publishing week after week has also been an eye opening experience especially half way through when metro themselves got involved and stared sharing my posts. When you have a post reach of over 10k on a weekly basis it’s inevitable that you get a bit if backlash and the critics didn’t hold back whether it was my opinion of a pub, my spelling and grammar or what top I was wearing that day. The trolls really came our from under their bridges when the Chronicle published an article about what we’d done and everyone seemed to have something to say from how long it took to why we went to the Victory instead of The Brandling Villa in South Gosforth.
I’ll be honest I stopped reading the comments pretty quickly. The urge to defend myself was too strong and got tired of reiterating that I also have a full time job and Dave is allergic to dogs (the answers to the two hot topics of criticism). I was never trying to break (or set) any world records, so if there’s anyone who thinks they can do it quicker, or make a more thorough job, they have my full support, this is my story, my journey, my guide.
It’s been a great experience getting out and about and seeing places in the region that we would never normally visit and having the support of such a north eastern institution like the metro has been fantastic. On 28th December 2017, just over a year after we started, we visited our final pub in Hebburn, pub 60 of 60 with the same friends we visited our first pub in South Gosforth with.
So huge thanks to everyone who came along and helped us out:
To everyone online who have shared with us us their suggestions on where to go. And to the Tyne and Wear Metro and Newcastle Chronicle for their support!
Everyone also keeps on asking what’s next and whilst I’m proud that we achieved what we set out to, i’m also quite pleased to see the back of it to be honest, I can do without the constant criticism and nit picking that comes from publishing something that turns out to be quite successful.
I’m looking forward to getting back to the day job, writing articles no one reads about the Backstreet Boys and how much I hate my hair. And my liver is off for a well deserved rest!
You can see the complete guide here
Stay tuned for the Wine & Beer Metro Pub Tour awards coming soon!