*Our visit was complimentary but all views are my own
Suffice to say the pandemic has affected all of us. I mean, did you see how bad my roots got last year?! I kid, I kid. Of course, not least affected by the total madness of the last 18 months has been the hospitality industry. And whilst most of us were at home with our £3 bottles of white wine wondering whether the House Party app was mining all our personal data, pub and restaurant owners were seriously worrying about their livelihoods and there was a real risk of good quality, independently run local businesses no longer being a staple of the community.
One good quality, independently run local business that did manage to break on through to the other side was Alfie and Fins Gin Bar in Tynemouth and we were lucky enough to be invited down last weekend to sample some of their cocktails. Now, I may have never changed a lightbulb or know how our lawnmower works, but one thing I do know is micro pubs and good cocktails.
Based in the left had corner of the Land of Green Ginger arcade just minutes from Tynemouth metro, Alfie and Fin’s Gin Bar is a little treasure trove of speciality gin and cocktails. The cocktail list is small but perfectly formed and with Dave and I having quite different tastes, there was almost literally half which were perfect for me and half perfect for Dave. The standout for me was undoubtedly the watermelon martini. As all the cocktails are made with as many fresh ingredients as possible they don’t have that horrible syrupy sweet taste a lot of cocktails have in other bars and the watermelon martini is the perfect first drink on a Friday after work. And I could have had about 20 of them (I didn’t).
Others I tried were the Let’s Get Ready to Bramble (nice nod to Ant & Dec) which tastes like an alcoholic Ribena, their twist on a Pornstar Martini (again, made with all fresh ingredients) and I got to be guinea pig for a new addition for the autumn; a Chocolate Martini. D-licious. They’re still working on the recipe for that one though so something to look forward to next time we visit. Dave also really enjoyed the cocktails he tried, particularly the Dark n Stormy and the Espresso Martini, which was one of the smoothest I’ve ever tried and not too heavy on the coffee, as they sometimes can be. Every time I see a cocktail priced over a tenner (which is worryingly often) by bank account let’s out the sound of an abandoned kitten so the fact these are priced at £6.90 music to my ears.
They don’t serve food BUT you can order pizza from the place opposite in the arcade to eat in Alfie & Fin’s with your drinks which I think is pretty cool. In fact the whole vibe inside The Land of Green Ginger is pretty awesome, everyone seems to really get on and support each other. Which makes it feel even more homely.
Obviously they also have a wide selection of gin to suit all tastes and are on hand to provide recommendations too, you don’t have to stick with what’s on the menu if you have a particular way you like your favourite tipple and I love that non-precious approach. They have one lager on tap, which is Staropramen, and if you’re only able to have one beer on, it’s good that it’s a decent one! Wine is also available by the mini bottle so there’s pretty much something for everyone.
With what little space they have, they’ve utilised it well. The large Chesterfield sofas in the corner will be the seats that people queue for (and I believe that’s happened already) but there’s other tables available too, as well as some tables and chairs outside the unit as overflow. We chatted with John and Sarah all evening about all things boozy, how the pandemic has affected us all, and their future plans for Alfie & Fin’s including a six-foot Christmas tree coming later this year. They really did make us feel so welcome and it was just like sitting having drinks with friends.
Reviewing places like this makes my job so easy. The only difficult thing is trying to find different positive adjectives to use. We have loads of friends and family we have already recommended them to and are planning trip back for our 2nd annual ‘office Christmas party’ this December. And I will arm wrestle anyone for a chance to sit in those Chesterfields and drink watermelon martinis all afternoon!
Next time you’re in Tynemouth make sure you swing by and say hello, you really won’t be disappointed!
Address: Unit 1, The Land of Green Ginger, Front Street,, Tynemouth, United Kingdom, NE30 4BP